When you decide to start monitoring your blood pressure at home, you may not know where to begin. Maybe your doctor told you that your blood pressure numbers were concerning and suggested that you monitor at home. Or maybe you do have hypertension and want to track your progress when you start making heart healthy lifestyle choices. No matter your reasons to monitor your blood pressure at home, you may wonder what those numbers on your monitor actually mean.
While taking your blood pressure
Two numbers will appear on your screen, as shown on iHealth’s wireless blood pressure monitor, when taking your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries as your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic, or the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. These numbers are measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. Here is how to make sense of your numbers:
- Normal blood pressure: According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure is in the normal range if it’s below 120/80 mm Hg.
- Prehypertension: Between 120/80 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg.
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: Between 140/90 mm Hg and 159/99 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: Between 160/100 mm Hg and 179/109 mm Hg.
- Hypertensive crisis: Above 180/110 mm Hg.
There are a number of factors that cause spikes and dips in blood pressure throughout the day. If your doctor suggests monitoring your blood pressure at home, chances are, he or she has told you to take your blood pressure a couple of times a day to account for these fluctuations. If you’re using a wrist blood pressure monitor, all of your measurements will be saved right on your phone. If you find that your readings are regularly above normal, talk to your doctor about changes you can make to get your blood pressure to a healthy level.