It may happen that you need to measure your blood pressure, but you find yourself without a suitable device to do so.
In this article, we will give you some tips on how to measure blood pressure without tools in the comfort of your home.
What is blood pressure and what does it indicate?
Blood pressure is a very important parameter to get information about your health. It indicates the pressure exerted by blood on the arterial walls and, consequently, a normal blood pressure level will let you know if your heart is healthy or not. In general, blood pressure with too high values could, in fact, alarm the heart status and, if you have heart failure, it becomes very important to regularly check your blood pressure.
Pressure values within the norm
First of all, you need to know within which values your blood pressure is to be considered normal, and when it is too low or too high.
The pressure values generally increase with increasing age; therefore, a child’s blood pressure will fall within a lower range of values than that of an adult, which in turn will be lower than that of an elderly person.
At this point we need to distinguish between diastolic pressure and systolic pressure:
- diastolic pressure is the pressure exerted between one beat and the next
- systolic pressure is, instead, exerted on the arteries during a single heartbeat.
Taking into consideration an adult person, normal blood pressure values range from 75/80 mmHg for diastolic to 115/120 mmHg for systolic; therefore, one could think of a risky situation when the diastolic values exceed 90 mmHg and the systolic values exceed 140 mmHg.
How to measure blood pressure at home?
To measure your blood pressure you can go to your doctor, who will use instruments with a high degree of accuracy; generally, the doctor uses a cuff and a stethoscope, instruments not easy to find at home, but which give an accurate and reliable reading.
However, you may need to measure your blood pressure and not be able to go to the doctor or pharmacy. You can do this safely at home and the most effective and accurate way is to use digital or manual tools such as the blood pressure monitor and sphygmomanometer. Digital instruments usually show both blood pressure values and heart rate, which is obviously another useful measurement as an indicator of the health of the heart.
How to measure blood pressure without tools
If, on the other hand, you don’t have either of these two instruments handy, it might be useful to measure your heart rate by counting the number of beats per minute. We specify that diastolic pressure can only be measured using a sphygmomanometer, while systolic pressure can be detected manually from the arteries, as we will explain below. First of all, it should be noted that this is an occasional method since the results have a large margin of approximation. Here, then, is how to measure blood pressure without tools.
To measure the number of beats without tools, it is enough:
- Place one or two fingers on an artery. Prefer the arteries of the neck or wrist. Preferably use your index and middle fingers and avoid using your thumb, which has a strong pulse and could interfere with the measurement.
- At this point, count the number of times you feel the heartbeat through the pulses for an interval of about 15 seconds.
- Finally, multiply the number of beats by 4 and you will get the number of beats per minute.
Measures before measuring pressure
Of course, a single measurement and values that are too high or too low on a single occasion shouldn’t alarm you too much. There are, in fact, many factors that could affect and alter blood pressure and heart rate. Should you experience unusual values from a measurement, we recommend that you take the following precautions before taking the next measurement:
- The most favorable moment of the day to carry out the survey is certainly in the morning, before having breakfast and taking medicines, or in the evening before going to sleep.
- Avoid moments of particular stress to take the measurement. Being worried or agitated causes stress hormones to temporarily raise both your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Do not use drugs and alcohol, avoid stimulants and antidepressants. Smoking, alcohol, and caffeine could alter the measurement values.
- Do not take other medicines, but consult your doctor first to better understand if and which medicines could interfere and alter the measurement values.
- Avoid carrying out intense physical activity at least half an hour before the measurement in order not to alter the values too much. It would also be advisable to rest for a while before the measurement, which will be carried out while sitting comfortably.
Why is it important to monitor blood pressure?
Although it is an unreliable instrument-free measurement to accurately understand the number of beats and blood pressure, this manual calculation can be very useful. Getting used to regularly measuring the number of beats per minute and keeping track of your heart rate, even without a device, will allow you to monitor your blood rhythm and, consequently, your health. Taking care of yourself and your health every day will help you avoid unpleasant surprises from the doctor and you can, perhaps, notice some irregularities in time:
- Make a commitment to measuring the number of beats each day
- Try to always take the measurement at the same time of the day
- Calculate your heart rate using the formula above
- Write down the values in a notepad each time
Done! You created your own heart rate and heart health check plan, and you did it without tools! You can now decide whether to share your notes with the attending physician. These notes are, in fact, the starting point that your doctor can use to help you decipher the sequence of measurements you have taken. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your readings signal something to worry about or are within normal range.