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How (well) to use a blood pressure monitor? Advice from a cardiologist

It may happen, due to suspicious voltage, that your doctor invites you to measure it at home. Which in itself isn’t a problem as long as you don’t “anytime and anyhow”, explains Professor Carré. Explanations.

The right way to measure your blood pressure yourself

First, be sure to take your blood pressure three times in the morning and three times in the evening for three days in a row. The idea being to measure it, each time, under similar conditions “and always after a rest period ranging from 3 to 5 minutes”.

  • In the morning, before breakfast, sit 5 minutes with the cuff in place, let the pressure drop and press the button to take the first measurement. Then repeat twice, spacing each measure 2 to 3 minutes apart.
  • Then do the same in the evening before dinner.

Why this requirement of regularity? Because your voltage is constantly changing. “So we need values ​​taken under standard conditions. It is on these that we establish our standards. If you take your blood pressure after climbing two floors at full speed, you will have 18 blood pressure. So do not take it from multiple times a day and in different conditions, that doesn’t mean anything to us.”

Another recommendation: “Prefer a blood pressure monitor with a cuff that you put on your arm, not on your wrist, which is somewhat less reliable. But if it is on the wrist, place it at the level of your heart during the measurement so as not to vary the pressure.

What numbers should be noted when taking your blood pressure?

During each measurement, you will get three digits :

  • that of systolic pressurefirst (the 13 in 13/8 for example),
  • then that of diastolic pressure (the 8 in 13/8, for example)
  • and finally heart ratefrequently displayed on blood pressure monitors.

“The idea is then to take the average of the 18 digits obtained after the 6 measurements. But do note that the numbers won’t be quite the same as at the doctor’s. When we measure ourselves, blood pressure is considered normal at home when it is below 13.8/8.5. At your doctor, it will be 14/9.”

Once you have obtained your average values, you can show them to your doctor, who will decide if a change in lifestyle is necessary, for example. “You have to understand that you don’t always need medication when your blood pressure is too high. Sometimes losing weight or reduce the amount of salt in our diet enough. And when we take a medicine against high blood pressureit’s for life, so you have to be sure…” And so start by making good measurements!

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