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Blood Pressure Monitoring

Hypertension Basic

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Having High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)? Know Your Numbers!

Mohan Qi, MS, RD
2
November 14, 2021

When you measure your blood pressure at home, do you always look at the number but not sure how it looks? Is it high or low? Should you be worried about it? Read this article to learn more about the blood pressure readings!

There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading - the systolic blood pressure (the upper number) and the diastolic pressure (the bottom number). The systolic blood pressure measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats while the diastolic blood pressure measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries in between beats.

Getting Your Baseline

Knowing your blood pressure is crucial to knowing where you are with your blood pressure. But since blood pressure tends to bounce around a lot, just checking a few times a week or month is usually not enough. If your blood pressure is stable, or you are too busy to check often, the American Heart Association recommends what is called a ‘baseline’, or a group of at least 12 measurements that are averaged together to estimate your true current blood pressure. It is done by checking both in the morning, and the evening, for at least 3 days - each time you check your blood pressure, measure it 2 times, spaced no more than 1 minute apart.

The schedule would look like this:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Morning - measurement pair Morning - measurement pair Morning - measurement pair
Evening - measurement pair Evening - measurement pair Evening - measurement pair

Check your baseline at any time, but most importantly, when you are new to the program, when you have a medication change or new diagnosis, or even a change in your routine, stress, or lifestyle. You may also check it when you measure less often than 3 times per week.

The Blood Pressure Goal

The therapeutic goal of blood pressure for patients with both diabetes and hypertension is lower than 140/90 mmHg (Stage 1 or below). However, lower than 130/80 mmHg (Elevated or below) is a more stringent goal for those with a high risk of cardiovascular diseases and whom are able to achieve it without excessive treatment burden.

Systolic pressure less than 90 or diastolic pressure less that 60 is considered as low blood pressure.

Feel free to talk to your UnifiedCare Team if you have any question about the blood pressure reading or want some advice to keep your blood pressure in the controlled range.