What is a Blood Pressure Monitor

Colin Holyk, BSc (Pharm) Pharmacist, discusses blood pressure monitors.

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Colin Holyk, BSc (Pharm) Pharmacist, discusses blood pressure monitors.
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Video transcript

Featuring Colin Holyk, BSc, Pharmacist

Duration: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

If you have diabetes, it’s very important that you monitor your blood pressure. Blood pressure monitoring at home is very important, and it also allows the patient to be actively involved in their therapy for blood pressure.

There are a number of different blood pressure monitors available, different brands, different styles. They vary from the kind that you have a stethoscope in your ears, and you try to hear the blood pressure flowing through. There is a semi-automatic kind where you actually pump up the cuff, and the machine does the reading. And there’s a fully automatic variety that allows you to basically press a button. The machine pumps up, deflates and does the reading.

Basically, the units are all similar. They have a blood pressure cuff that goes around the arm, goes above the elbow. There’s on/off buttons to turn the machine on and do the reading.

There are other machines that are also – the wrist variety that go around the wrist, perhaps not as accurate. When you do use the blood pressure machine, it is very important that it’s placed appropriately on the arm, next to the skin, not over a shirt or a sweater. And that will help allow for a more accurate reading.

Blood pressure changes and fluxes throughout the day, so when you do your blood pressure checking at home, you want to sort of keep things equal as best you can. So if you’re checking your blood pressure once a day, try to check it around the same time, with the same variables in play.

For example, you might want to check blood pressure first thing in the morning when you wake up. That tends to be at the lowest. There’s less stress factors, as well, so it might be the lowest reading.

When you do your blood pressure readings, what you really want to do ideally is to check it three times in a row. But we want you to wait two to three minutes between each reading. That allows the arteries to rebound, and it just allows for a more accurate reading. So if you do three readings, two to three minutes between, that would be ideal, and then average those readings.

When you see the doctor in the doctor’s office, and the doctor does the blood pressure, that’s just really representive of only one time of the day, that blood pressure, whereas if you’re doing monitoring at home, you’re getting a large number of readings throughout the day.

Many of these blood pressure units will have memories on them, and they will stamp the memory with the date and the time. And you can show your physician that. If not, you can also just do a nice log of the readings.

Making any change in your medication for blood pressure should be done with you and your doctor. And all your blood pressure readings that you get at home should be taken into your physician. It gives the physician a great idea and understanding of what your blood pressure is through the day, through the weeks, through the months. And the doctor can do the assessment.

Presenter: Mr. Colin Holyk, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pharmacist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.