Monitoring is the only way to know

Elevated blood pressure is a sneaky fellow since it doesn't make itself known in any way. In other words, there is no way for you to know your blood pressure readings without monitoring them. You can always have your blood pressure measured at occupational health services or in health care centres, but the smartest buy their own blood pressure monitor. Today, you can find a high-quality blood pressure monitor in your nearest department store.

First, all you need to do is measure your blood pressure once and you have a baseline reading. If your reading is below 135/85 mmHg, give yourself a pat on the back. That is absolutely brilliant! Your brain is safe from the damage caused by elevated blood pressure. In the future, you just need to occasionally monitor your levels. However, regularity is key.

Should your readings exceed 135/85 mmHg, do the measuring every morning and every evening daily for one week. To be absolutely certain of the readings, you can take two consecutive measurements at 1 to 2 minute intervals. Your actual blood pressure level is the average of the readings you got during the week. If your readings regularly exceed 135/85 mmHg, schedule an appointment with occupational health services, your health care centre or a private clinic. Continuing to monitor the situation at home is no longer enough!

This is how it's done

Take a moment to relax. Do not do anything strenuous before your take the reading, don't smoke or drink coffee, tea, energy drinks or anything with caffeine. Monitoring blood pressure right after a meal is not a good idea either.

You can use either arm to take the reading.

  • Sit comfortably at a table.
  • Keep your arm relaxed and rest it on the table with the upper arm at a 90-degree angle to the table surface.
  • Slide the cuff of the blood pressure monitor over your bare arm and tighten. The cuff is sufficiently tight if you can fit one finger in between the cuff and your upper arm.
  • Relax for five minutes and start the monitor.
  • Do not speak or move while the monitor is taking the reading.
  • Take another reading after 1–2 minutes.
  • Write down both readings and calculate averages for both the top and the bottom number.
  • When you first start monitoring your blood pressure, measure it every morning and every evening for one week. After that, taking the readings on four consecutive days will be enough.