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How to Use a Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff

by Chantel Alise
  • Overview

    In today's stress-filled environment, a lot of people have high blood pressure. For that reason, doctors often recommend patients monitor blood pressure at home, in between doctor visits. A blood pressure device gaining in popularity is the digital wrist cuff. Although it is not as accurate as its counterpart, it still alerts people when blood pressure is out of control. It is automatic, simple to use and provides large numeric displays for easy reading.
  • Preparing to Take Blood Pressure

 
  • Step 1

    Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products one hour prior to taking your blood pressure (BP). These products can effect heartbeat and skew the pressure readings.
  • Step 2

    Empty your bladder and colon prior to taking BP. Needing "to go" could lead to fidgeting during BP, which could skew pressure measurements.
  • Step 3

    Sit down in a supportive chair. To get a good standard BP measurement, you must be in a relaxed, upright position.
  • Step 4

    Calm your nerves. Relax your muscles and try to achieve a peaceful state.
  • Step 5

    Lay your arm on the chair arm or a nearby stand, desk or a table. Make certain your arm is level with or raised slightly above the heart.
  • Taking Blood Pressure

    • Step 1

      Place the wrist cuff around your wrist, approximately 1" above the base of the hand. Pull the cuff so it fits tightly without cutting off circulation.
    • Step 2

      Turn the hand so the palm faces up. Make sure the cuff monitor is right side up as well.
    • Step 3

      Locate wrist pulse. If pulse is beating too fast, rest a few more minutes before beginning the BP check.
    • Step 4

      Turn the wrist cuff on and check its functionality. Refer to product instructions if questions arise.
    • Step 5

      Close the pressure gauge valve. The cuff will not inflate properly with it open.
    • Step 6

      Pump, using the air bulb, to around 200. Sit perfectly still, without coughing, fidgeting, or sneezing since body movement can skew BP readings.
    • Step 7

      Deflate the cuff by slowly opening the air valve. Opening too quickly will result in a lost reading.
    • Step 8

      Note of the two numbers on the monitor. The upper number is systolic pressure; the lower one is diastolic pressure.
    • Step 9

      Wait five minutes and redo the BP. If the numbers are the same, you are finished. If they differ, try taking BP on the other wrist. If the measurements still differ, contact your physician.
    • 2
    • Chair with arms or adjoining stand, desk or table Blood pressure wrist cuff
    • Chair with arms or adjoining stand, desk or table
    • Blood pressure wrist cuff
    • Consider having your doctor's office check your wrist cuff against one of their digital machines. This will let you know if it is functioning within an acceptable realm. Wrist cuffs are not considered as accurate as arm cuffs. The wrist cuff is sensitive to body temperature and movement, thereby skewing the numbers. Wrist cuffs are, in most cases, more expensive. They often range from $50 up to more than $100. Some BP machines record a third number on the monitor, which represents the pulse rate. It will display separately from the blood pressure reading.
    • Consider having your doctor's office check your wrist cuff against one of their digital machines. This will let you know if it is functioning within an acceptable realm.
    • Wrist cuffs are not considered as accurate as arm cuffs. The wrist cuff is sensitive to body temperature and movement, thereby skewing the numbers.
    • Wrist cuffs are, in most cases, more expensive. They often range from $50 up to more than $100.
    • Some BP machines record a third number on the monitor, which represents the pulse rate. It will display separately from the blood pressure reading.
    • Do not cross your legs or ankles or sit on one or more legs while measuring BP. The numbers will likely be skewed because of the unnatural pose.
    • Do not cross your legs or ankles or sit on one or more legs while measuring BP. The numbers will likely be skewed because of the unnatural pose.

    References & Resources