Q:

How do you take a blood pressure reading?

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Quick Answer

To take an accurate blood pressure reading, use a manual or digital blood pressure monitor. The first step is to take a person's pulse, followed by the application of the cuff. Once the cuff is in place, inflate and deflate the cuff and record the blood pressure, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

To obtain an accurate blood pressure reading, it is best if a person sits still during the process, states WebMD. If using a manual monitor, inflate the bulb until the gauge reads 30 points, and then begin the deflation process. During the deflation process, listen carefully for the first heartbeat by using a stethoscope and note the number on the gauge. The first heartbeat provides the systolic pressure, which measures the artery pressure during heartbeats. Continue listening until the sound of the heartbeat disappears and note the number on the gauge. This second number provides the diastolic pressure, which measures the artery pressure in between heartbeats.

A normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, reports the American Heart Association. Those who record a systolic number higher than 180 and a diastolic number higher than 110 are considered to be in hypertensive crisis and need emergent care.

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