- Best Time to Check BP
- How to Time BP Readings
- Different Ways to Measure BP
- Best Practices
- When to See a Doctor
What is the best time to check your blood pressure?
Globally, over one billion people have high blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension. If you too have similar problems, your doctor may have advised you to check your BP regularly. To be as accurate as possible, you should first figure out what would be the best time of day to do so. The answer be personal and will depend upon your schedule and the method you wish to follow to monitor your blood pressure.
Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. So, to get the most accurate picture, you should check your BP at least twice daily.
Strictly speaking, there is no best time to take blood pressure. The key to getting accurate blood pressure readings is to check your BP regularly at the same time each day. This means you need to choose the times that are most convenient for you, as you need to stick to them every day.
You can select the times when you know you'll be free and the least distracted. For example, you can make it a habit to monitor your blood pressure before you leave for work, before having dinner, and before going to sleep.
What should you consider when timing your blood pressure readings?
There are many factors that can affect your blood pressure readings.
Time of the day
Blood pressure has a daily rhythm. It rises and falls at different times during the day. Your blood pressure drops during the night and is 10% to 20% lower while you're asleep. It starts to rise a few hours before you wake up and is the highest during the middle of the day. By late afternoon and evening, it starts to fall again.
Experts recommend not to take your blood pressure immediately after waking up. Rather, you should wait for at least 30 minutes after waking before you take a BP reading.
Food and caffeine
Both food and coffee can increase your blood pressure. Ideally, you should take your morning blood pressure after you have brushed and showered but before you've had your breakfast.
There are some activities you need to avoid for at least half an hour before taking your blood pressure reading, no matter the time of the day. These include:
What are the different ways to get a blood pressure reading?
You can monitor your blood pressure at home or get it checked at your doctor's office. Each way has its benefits and drawbacks. The best approach for you would be to combine both methods to get a complete understanding of your blood pressure.
Get BP checked by a medical professional
It is common for a doctor to check your blood pressure during a medical appointment. If you have serious BP-related issues, your doctor may ask you to schedule your appointments during different times of the day. This will help your doctor determine your average BP range and get an accurate picture of your blood pressure.
However, since it's not possible to visit a medical office every day, most people don't find it a convenient way of regularly monitoring their blood pressure. Therefore, blood pressure checks at a medical office are only recommended for serious BP-related cases or when the regular involvement of a doctor is required.
Check BP at home
Most people prefer to check BP at home using a blood pressure monitor. It is comparatively simpler, cheaper, and at times, produces even better results than getting tested by a medical professional. This is because home blood pressure checks can help you avoid the white coat effect — the condition where BP readings remain normal at home but rise at the doctor's office due to anxiety felt by patients.
With home monitoring, you can track your BP daily and throughout the day whenever it's convenient for you. Home blood pressure checks are also useful when you need to test the effect of a new BP medicine or a new low-salt diet. With respect to home monitoring, the only important thing to know is how to use a blood pressure monitor correctly and get accurate readings from it.
What are the best practices to measure your blood pressure correctly?
While you're at the doctor's office, a medical professional will make sure to follow the best practices while monitoring your BP. However, if you're using an at-home BP monitor, you need to follow these tips to get accurate blood pressure readings:
- Make sure your room is comfortable and warm.
- Take 5 minutes to relax before starting the blood pressure test.
- Prefer to sit in a chair with your feet firmly placed on the floor.
- Support the arm you'll be using on a table or a flat surface while maintaining your elbow at heart level.
- Make sure the inflatable part of the cuff touches your bare skin while covering at least 80% of your upper arm.
- Avoid speaking while taking the measurement.
- Check your blood pressure twice, with a break of about 3 minutes between the measurements. Repeat it for the third time if there is a difference of 5 points or more between the readings.
- The blood pressure reading in the right arm and left arm can show differences. So, if possible check your BP using each arm at least once, and take the highest value for your consideration.
When should you visit a doctor?
Your blood pressure is the measure of the force your heart uses to pump blood throughout the blood vessels in your body. It is shown by two numbers, where the first number indicates the systolic pressure. This is the pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat. The second number is called diastolic pressure. It represents the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between two beats.
A blood pressure reading of 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is considered healthy. Readings above 130/80 and higher indicate high BP whereas readings below 100/60 indicate low BP. Getting high or low BP once or twice is not a matter of concern. But if you repeatedly get abnormal readings, talk to a doctor to get your BP in the healthy range.
However, before you seek medical help, make sure you've followed the best practices while checking your BP at the same time every day. If needed, ask a medical professional to take your readings so that you get a more accurate picture and know for sure if there are any problems with your blood pressure.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Chest: "Sleep and Hypertension."
European Cardiology Review: "Home blood pressure monitoring."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Tips to measure your blood pressure correctly."
Journal of Clinical Hypertension: "Longitudinal association between adiposity and inter-arm blood pressure difference."
The Lancet: "Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 to 2015: a pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19·1 million participants."
Top When Blood Pressure Lowest and Highest During Day Related Articles
What Is the Normal Blood Pressure Range?Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges by Age For Men and Women?What is normal, low and high blood pressure? Find charts of blood pressure readings and ranges for men and women of different ages. Discover what causes high and low blood pressure and how to prevent it.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure Immediately, Naturally? ChartCan you lower your high blood pressure immediately? Explore 9 ways such as exercise, healthy eating, rest, and more that can help protect your arteries from blood pressure changes as you age. See chart and learn to manage and control hypertension the healthy and natural way.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
High Blood Pressure & BodyHigh blood pressure puts you at risk for a number of other conditions. Here's what to look out for.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)? Symptoms, TreatmentsWhat causes high blood pressure (hypertension)? What is normal blood pressure? Know the warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure. Read about high blood pressure medications, diet, and long-term treatments.
HBP QuizTake this quiz and test your IQ of high blood pressure (hypertension), the cardiovascular disease that causes most strokes and heart attacks. How are dizziness, snoring, and gout related to HBP? Find the answer and learn how medical treatments and lifestyle adjustments fight this common problem.
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include lifestyle modifications (alcohol, smoking, coffee, salt, diet, exercise), drugs and medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha blockers, clonidine, minoxidil, and Exforge.
How Can I Bring My Blood Pressure Down Immediately?High blood pressure is diagnosed when the force of your blood pressing against the artery wall is too high for an extended period of time. Bring your blood pressure down immediately by taking a hot shower or bath and practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure in 30 Seconds?Blood pressure refers to the tension — or pressure — your blood places on the walls of your arteries as it passes through your body. Lower your BP in 30 seconds by practicing deep breathing, taking a warm shower, and meditating or reading.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure in Minutes?Learn how to lower your high blood pressure quickly and how to better manage this condition.
How Do I Know If I Have High or Low Blood Pressure Numbers?High or low blood pressure can lead to serious health conditions. Learn more about what you should do if your pressure is outside the ideal range.
Is It Okay to Take Blood Pressure Multiple Times?International hypertension societies recommend taking multiple blood pressure measurements over several days.
What Time of Day Is Blood Pressure Highest?Your blood pressure follows a pattern, rising a while before you wake up. It is the highest at midday and tends to drop in the evening or late afternoon.
Why is My Blood Pressure Suddenly High and Low?Blood pressure can be defined as the force your blood creates when it's flowing through your arteries. Blood pressure may be high or low due to medication side effects, certain medical conditions, or unknown reasons.