Your blood pressure is the force that moving blood puts on your artery walls. When your blood pressure is taken, two numbers are used to show it, like 120/80 (read 120 over 80).
The first, or top number, is called the systolic pressure. This is how much pressure is on your arteries when the heart pumps blood out to your body. The second, or bottom number, is called the diastolic pressure. This is how much pressure is there when your blood vessels relax to let the blood flow back into your heart.
Blood pressure levels are ranked in stages*. Each stage gives a range of blood pressure readings and tells how it ranks. The stages are:
Normal – Systolic less than 120 and Diastolic less than 80
Prehypertension – Systolic 120-139 or Diastolic 80-89
Stage 1 hypertension – Systolic 140-159 or Diastolic 90-99
Stage 2 hypertension – Systolic 160 or higher or Diastolic 100 or higher
*Based on guidelines from the JNC7 Report, May 2003.
What Affects Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is a moving target. It can go up or down depending on what you are doing. For example:
When you sleep, your blood pressure is often much lower. As you wake up and start moving around, it goes up.
Talking, walking or eating can make your blood pressure go up, too.
Sudden pain or stress can cause your blood pressure to rise in a few seconds.
Exercising hard or getting excited can also raise your blood pressure.
Smoking and drinking caffeine within 30 minutes of taking your blood pressure can also affect your blood pressure reading.
So, when you take your blood pressure, do it after you have rested quietly for at least 5 minutes. This allows your blood pressure to get back to what it normally is. Finding your normal blood pressure requires that you keep track of your blood pressure readings.
How to Take Your Blood Pressure
Read through these steps one or more times before starting.
Sit in a quiet place near a table where you can place your arm and equipment comfortably.
Wrap the blood pressure cuff around your bare arm (not over your clothes) an inch above the elbow. The cuff should fit snugly but with enough room so that one finger can be slipped under the cuff. Wrap the cuff evenly.
Rest your elbow and lower arm on the table so that your upper arm is level with your heart. Stay still.
Turn the power on.
Squeeze the rubber bulb and inflate the cuff.* Inflate the cuff about 30 ??? 40 mmHg above your estimated systolic pressure. (This is the level of blood pressure that causes your radial pulse to disappear when the cuff is pumped up.)
After you stop inflating, the automatic exhaust will slowly reduce the cuff pressure. The machine will show you systolic and diastolic pressures on the screen.
Press or turn the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
Fill in the blood pressure chart on back.
Turn power off.
*Some cuffs don???t have a rubber bulb and inflate by themselves with the push of a button.Tags: blood pressure, Hypertension, Cardiology, Medical equipment, Cardiovascular system, Cardiovascular diseases, Sphygmomanometer, Prehypertension
ometimes your child may think she is doing well when an attack could be just around the corner. “Well, how can I know?” you ask yourself. There is now a device that allows you and your child to know how well he is breathing. A peak flow meter looks like an oversized inhaler, but your child breathes into it, not from it.
When your child blows hard into the meter as fast as she can, it measures how quickly she can breathe out. Your child should use the peakflow meter twice daily, once during the day and once at night. The highest score should be recorded daily on a chart that goes with the peakflow meter. Share this information with your child’s doctor and use it as a tool to prevent asthma attacks before they happen.
How To Use Your Peak Flow Meter:
- Make sure your child is standing.
- Make sure the arrow indicator is set to zero.
- Have your child take a very deep breath, then, holding the meter tightly between his lips, have him blow out hard and fast.
- Write down the number where the arrow indicator stopped.
- Have your child blow into the meter two more times.
- Record on your peak flow meter chart the highest number, which is your child’s “peak flow.”
The Peak Flow Meter Chart
The peak flow meter chart will help you prevent your child’s attacks and help you to find out what causes asthma attacks in your child. It is also a helpful summary of your child’s condition during your doctor’s visit.
To set up your chart, have your child use the peak flow meter twice a day for two weeks, and record the best score for each use. Take the highest score during the entire two weeks, and use this number to represent your child’s peak flow. It will be this number that you will compare all of his future scores to and be able to identify the zone your child is in each day.
Peak flow scores will fall into one of three zones: green (safe), yellow (warning) or red (danger).
- This zone represents 80% or more of your child’s best peak flow. If your child’s score falls into this zone, it usually means that her medication is working well. To find out what your child’s 80% score is, multiply the peak flow score by 0.8.
- This zone represents 50% to 80% of your child’s best peak flow. This is a warning zone, and if your child’s score falls into this zone, his asthma is not being controlled with the medication he is taking and he may need to take additional medications, or use a bronchodilator. Have your child use the peakflow meter again in 20 minutes, and if the score does not fall into the green zone, an asthma attack could happen soon. You may need to prepare to handle the attack as advised by your doctor, or even contact your doctor if it appears the attack may be severe. To find out what your child’s 50% score is, multiply the peak flow score by 0.5.
- This zone represents less than 50% of your child’s best peak flow. This zone means danger, and your child will probably have an asthma attack. Use the medicines your doctor prescribed to stop an attack, and if your child gets no relief, contact your doctor as soon as possible.