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Do you regularly check your blood pressure at home? If yes, then congratulations you are doing the right thing to keep your heart and body safe. But do you know the right time to check your blood pressure to get the most accurate readings? According to various reports, most people do not know the right time to check blood pressure. Let’s see understand when it should be checked.

What is blood pressure and how is it measured?

Your heart pumps blood around your body, it pushes against the sides of blood vessels. The strength with which your blood pushes is your blood pressure. It is measured in units of “millimetres of mercury”, also written as mmHg and is always read in pairs with an upper and a lower value. The instrument used to measure blood pressure is known as a sphygmomanometer.

When should you check your blood pressure?

The American Heart Association recommends checking the blood pressure at home at regular intervals. Generally, blood pressure readings are a little higher in mornings and vary throughout the day. Therefore you should check your blood pressure 5-6 times in a day to get an average reading. Also, maintain a blood pressure journal that can help your doctor give you proper medication. Your blood pressure may differ slightly (usually by five points) when you are in a medical centre than at home.

Who should take special care of their blood pressure?

People suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension, heart diseases, pregnant women and those suffering from diabetes should keep a regular check on the variations in their blood pressure.

Factors affecting blood pressure readings

Some of the factors that affect blood pressure readings are:

  • Sleeping; usually results in a lowering of BP
  • Body position
  • Emotional state of a person
  • Body temperature. Blood pressure tends to go up when the body temperature of a person is low.
  • Sleep apnea, which is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, leads to rise in blood pressure.
  • Smoking or consuming caffeine or alcohol leads to an increase in blood pressure.

Things to be kept in mind before checking blood pressure

  • Sit still with your back straight, legs on the floor and with support for your back and hands
  • Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol at least thirty minutes before checking blood pressure
  • Take your blood pressure readings before exercising or breakfast
  • Don't take readings immediately after waking up
  • Empty your bladder before checking blood pressure
  • Blood pressure should not be checked when you are asleep
  • Your mind should be in a state of complete relaxation as anger and anxiety can raise blood pressure levels

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