Monitoring your blood pressure regularly can help to prevent sudden health complications. Breathing rate, internal heat levels, pulse, and blood pressure are essential signs during post-operation care. Blood pressure is the most common of all the problems. And Fit Fly fanatics can monitor it easily by learning the correct way to test it.

Checking your blood pressure with a manual BP machine can be confusing. People with diabetes and hypertension should learn to check their BP correctly. Most of the time, it is convenient to buy a pulse machine from a drug store. But, if you already have a manual blood pressure machine, then this article is for you.

Why does Blood Pressure rise?

Several factors cause blood pressure to rise temporarily. They include exercise, certain medications, stress, cold temperature, smoking, illness and caffeine. People who have diabetes also can witness frequent fluctuation in their blood pressure.

Avoid the listed factors as much as possible when taking your blood pressure before a Fit to Fly test. And try to measure your blood pressure at the same time every day. Especially during the covid pandemic, when locked in our homes, this becomes even more important. If you find any coronavirus symptom, then it is advised that you should take a PCR test. It can detect the exact strain of the virus. It is important because people who suffered from COVID-19 faced fluctuating blood pressure and heart problems.

Steps to follow before

Follow these steps before you check your blood pressure. These steps might vary during travel.

  1. Get a quiet place to check your blood pressure. You will have to listen to your heartbeat. It would help if you had clean ears too, to hear the heartbeat clearly.
  2. Visit the restroom to urinate and make sure that you are comfortable.
  3. Remove any tight-fitting cloth or roll it up.
  4. Sit comfortably in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep your arm comfortably at heart level. Then sit up straight with your back pushing against the chair and keeping your legs uncrossed. Let your forearm rest on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.

Patients with diabetes should check their sugar level first.

How to Check your Blood Pressure ( Step by Step)

Do not try to check your blood pressure during post-operation care. I can be dangerous. In normal conditions, you can follow these steps.

If you bought a manual or digital blood pressure monitor (sphygmomanometer), check the booklet and follow the instructions carefully. Follow these steps carefully on how to take your left arm blood pressure. The procedure remains the same during travel.

  1. Locate your pulse

Locate your pulse by pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside centre of the bend of your elbow. If you find it hard to discover your pulse, place the stethoscope head  (on a manual monitor) or the arm cuff (on a digital monitor) in the same general area.

Remember, if your pulse is high, then there can be many underlying reasons. Especially if you plan for a long journey and detect an irregular pulse, you should consult your doctor. Only a doctor can decide if you are fit to fly or not under such circumstances.

  1. Slide the cuff on Your Arm

When using a manual monitor, slip the cuff onto your arm and make certain that the stethoscope’s head is over the artery. The lower edge of the cuff should be around one inch above the bend of your elbow. Then use the fabric fastener to make the cuff tight but not too tight.

Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the earpieces slightly forward to get the best sound.

  1. Inflate and Deflate the Cuff

If you are using a manual monitor, then follow these steps. The medical professional during your post-operation care follows the same procedure.

  • Hold the bulb in your right hand and the pressure gauge in your left.
  • Restrict the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.
  • Squeeze the bulb with your right hand to inflate the bulb. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
  • Focus your eyes on the gauge. Continue to inflate the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure. At this time, you will not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
  • Still monitoring the gauge, slowly release the pressure in the cuff by opening the airflow valve counterclockwise. The gauge should go down only 2 to 3 points with each heartbeat.
  • Remain still and listen for the first pulse beat. As soon as you hear it, record the reading on the gauge. This reading is your systolic pressure.
  • Continue to deflate the cuff slowly and listen carefully until the sound disappears. When you can no longer hear your pulse, note the measured reading. This reading is about your diastolic pressure.
  • Now, allow the cuff to deflate completely.
  • Your reading will be most reliable if your arm is held straight.

Let’s assume you released the pressure too quickly or could not hear your pulse, do not inflate the cuff again right away. Wait for a minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.

  1. Record your Blood Pressure.

Ensure you follow your doctor’s instructions on when and how you should measure your blood pressure during your Fit to Fly test. Take note of the date, time, systolic and diastolic pressures. You should also record any activity you performed during that time, like a recent exercise, meal, travel, or stressful event. Even a coronavirus infection can elevate your blood pressure. PCR test is the most accurate test to check the level of viral infection in case it is the underlying factor of your hypertension.

Take your monitor with you when going for a medical appointment so that your doctor can check the machine’s accuracy. This is done by comparing a blood pressure reading from your machine with the doctor’s office machine.

Keeping a blood pressure record can help your doctor in many ways. It can determine the type of medicine you need to take, a suitable diet plan, or if you are fit to fly or not.

How to Understand Your Blood Pressure Reading

Generally, blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as 2 figures:

Diastolic pressure is when your heart rests between beats, and systolic pressure is the pressure when your heart pushes out blood.

Let’s assume your blood pressure is “140 over 90” or 140/90mmHg. It means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.

Before your Fit to Fly test, here is a simple guide to determine if you have normal blood pressure or not:

Normal blood pressure is supposed to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

  1. Normal high blood pressure = 140/90mmHg or higher
  2. Low blood pressure = 90/60mmHg or lower
  3. A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re likely to develop high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

How can You Control your Blood Pressure?

Follow through these few procedures daily:

  1. Adopt a healthy, balanced diet and reduce your salt intake
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Limit your alcohol intake
  4. Maintain a healthy weight
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Take medications like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or calcium channel blockers.