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Checking your blood pressure at home is important because it’s a key indicator of your overall health, especially if you already suffer from high blood pressure. Here is a guide on how you can properly check your blood pressure, including blood pressure readings by age.
Before getting into the steps, you should be aware that you can buy home blood pressure monitors at most pharmacies, medical supply stores, and some websites. Almost all of these devices will come with an inflatable cuff that squeezes your arm and a gauge that displays your blood pressure. It is recommended that you ask your doctor to check for the accuracy of the device before starting to use it. Once it is deemed reliable, you should develop a habit to check your blood pressure twice a day.
Here’s what you should do when are you ready to check your blood pressure:
Make sure you are relaxed. Place the inflated cuff on your bicep and make sure that you do not have any piece of clothing underneath.
Once the cuff is inflated, place the stethoscope with the flat side down on the inside of your elbow crease, toward the inner part of your arm where the major artery of your arm is located.
Slowly deflate the balloon as you listen through the stethoscope to hear the first rush of the blood flowing, and remember that number: This is your systolic blood pressure.
When the rhythm stops, record that measurement: this is your diastolic blood pressure. You’ll record your blood pressure as the systolic over the diastolic, such as 115/75.
According to Harvard Health, the definition of what is considered high blood pressure has been tightened. Here's what you need to know: previously, the guidelines set the threshold at 140/90 mm Hg for people younger than age 65 and 150/80 mm Hg for those ages 65 and older. Here is a breakdown of what the current threshold is for all ages:
While the chart above does not list by age, it is extremely important to note that your chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. According to the National Institute on Aging, “for older people, often the first number (systolic) is 130 or higher, but the second number (diastolic) is less than 80”. If you feel like you may have high blood pressure, you should contact your doctor immediately for solutions you can consider. It is the most common in older people and can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure. In addition to this, you can also experience shortness of breath during light physical activity, lightheadedness upon standing too fast, and falls.
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†Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Product results may vary from person to person.