It’s Heart Health Month, and the theme for 2022 is Reclaim Your Rhythm. This year’s theme plans to have us up dancing, replacing salt with spices, and wearing red! But one important way to keep the beat is to track your blood pressure.
More than one million Americans have high blood pressure…and one third don’t even know they have it. How’s your blood pressure?
What’s a good blood pressure reading?
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: the systolic and diastolic readings. These two numbers are often reported with a phrase like, “100 over 60.”
Ideally, the systolic reading should be below 120 and the diastolic should be below 80. If your numbers are 140 over 90 or higher, you may have high blood pressure.
Keep the beat
Your physician checks your blood pressure when you go in for an appointment, but you may need more information than that. You might be stressed on those occasions. Some people even have what is known as “white collar hypertension” — their blood pressure is always higher in a healthcare setting.
Also, if you visit your doctor just once or twice a year, you could benefit from more frequent blood pressure tracking.
At-home blood pressure testing devices are now affordable and easy to use, and you may also find free public blood pressure tests at many grocery stores and pharmacies.
Take your blood pressure twice a day, three times a week, for three weeks to get an accurate idea of your usual blood pressure stats.
For accurate results, follow these simple rules:
- Sit with your back supported and your feet flat on the floor.
- Set your arm at heart height and relax.
- Don’t talk.
The CDC has a printable blood pressure log you can use to keep track of your blood pressure readings.
There are also blood pressure apps that will allow you to record your blood pressure when you take it, and calculate stats for you. Your phone can’t take your blood pressure, so the apps are just to record and present the information.
Some popular apps:
Share the information with your doctor to add more data to your in-office readings.