Blood Pressure Test

Learn all there is to know about conducting a Blood Pressure Test with this guide. Download a free PDF template here.

By Matt Olivares on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is a crucial component of the circulatory system, representing the force exerted by our blood against the walls of our arteries. This force is vital for the proper functioning of our hearts, enabling them to efficiently pump blood throughout our bodies.

There are two types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure refers to the pressure in our arteries when our hearts contract, while diastolic blood pressure is when our hearts are at rest between beats. Maintaining optimal levels of both types is essential, as deviations from the norm can lead to health issues.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, poses significant risks to one's health, including the development of conditions such as cerebral infarction or stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney problems. It can also cause vision problems and severe headaches.

On the other hand, low blood pressure, or hypotension, is not necessarily problematic as some individuals may have naturally low blood pressure without experiencing associated symptoms. However, it can still lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, and lethargy. In severe cases, it may even result in nausea, shock, or fainting, which should be promptly addressed.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure range is crucial to ensure overall well-being and minimize the risk of complications.

Printable Blood Pressure Test

Download this Blood Pressure Test to check on a person’s blood pressure.

How to perform a blood pressure test:

It’s essential to keep your blood pressure within a particular measurement. One can conduct a blood pressure test to check on a person’s blood pressure, and one doesn’t have to be a healthcare professional to do so!

A blood pressure test requires a sphygmomanometer. This device will either come with a pump or a digital monitor. The latter is becoming more popular since it can automate the procedure.

Once you have this, do the following:

Step 1

Have the patient sit down. Ensure they sit straight and their feet are planted on the floor. Tell them to keep still.

Step 2

Wrap the sphygmomanometer's cuff around the patient's upper arm, just above the elbow. If a shirt sleeve is in the way, have them roll it up before wrapping the upper arm.

Step 3

If you’re using a stethoscope, place the chest piece on the upper arm’s brachial artery area. You don’t need to do this using a sphygmomanometer with a digital monitor.

If using a sphygmomanometer with a pump, inflate the cuff until it’s 20 to 30 mmHG higher than 120 (the standard for Systolic Blood Pressure). If you’re using one that has a digital monitor, just press the start button.

Step 4

Slowly release the air in the cuff using the valve or pressing the button. If you’re using a sphygmomanometer with a pump and stethoscope, listen to the first heartbeat (Systolic Blood Pressure). If you’re using one with a digital monitor, wait for it to display its reading.

Step 5

If you use a sphygmomanometer with a pump and stethoscope, keep listening and note when the sounds stop (Diastolic Blood Pressure). If you’re using one with a digital monitor, wait for it to display its reading.

How to interpret the results of a blood pressure test

The baseline for blood pressure is 120 mmHg (Systolic Blood Pressure) / 80 mmHG (Diastolic Blood Pressure) or less, but only up to a certain point. The number for Systolic Blood Pressure will always be higher than Diastolic Blood Pressure.

If the blood pressure test results indicate 130-139 mmHG for Systolic Blood Pressure and 80-89 mmHG for Diastolic Blood Pressure, the patient is nearing Hypertension and will experience or is experiencing mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, if it indicates 140+ mmHG for Systolic Blood Pressure and 90+ for Diastolic Blood Pressure, they have Hypertension. Additionally, if it indicates below 90 mmHG for Systolic Blood Pressure and below 60 mmHG for Diastolic Blood Pressure, they have Hypotension.

Make sure to record the results and note down any symptoms if they have Hypertension or Hypotension.

Blood Pressure Test Example:

Healthcare professionals who conduct blood pressure tests usually have sheets where they record the results alongside results for other tests.

If you don’t have a standard results sheet for blood pressure tests, we’d like you to know that we have a free blood pressure test PDF template you can download.

Our template is printable, but if you like to keep things paperless, you can use the PDF file because it has interactable fields to write down the Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure measurements.

It also has checkboxes so you can tick if the patient has Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) or Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure). There are also checkboxes to indicate any symptoms of High or Low Blood Pressure that they have.

There’s also a small comment box where you can write down the next steps for the patient (if any). You may even indicate what treatment you gave for Hypertension or Hypotension.

If you like what you see and believe this is an excellent way to record patient information and blood pressure test results, feel free to download our printable blood pressure test PDF template!

Download this Blood Pressure Test Example: 

Blood Pressure Test Example

When is it best to conduct or take a blood pressure test?

Blood pressure tests are standard during examinations. Here are some of the times they’re usually conducted:

At home

As mentioned earlier, blood pressure tests can be conducted by anyone, so long as they know how to perform the steps or if they have a sphygmomanometer with a digital monitor.

Those with Hypertension or cardiovascular issues are typically asked to check their blood pressure routinely. They’re often conducted several minutes after waking up or before getting a hopefully good night’s sleep.

Routine physical examinations

People with cardiovascular conditions or other problems requiring routine checkups will always have their blood pressure measurements taken while their healthcare providers check on them.

More often than not, workers are required to undergo annual physical examinations by their respective employers. Blood pressure tests are always part of the comprehensive examinations they have to take.

Medical emergencies

People rushed to emergency rooms or intensive care units will undergo blood pressure tests.  Healthcare providers must do so because high or low blood pressure results can help them determine the possibility of shock, sepsis, organ failure, etc.

Identifying blood pressure measurements and possible complications tied to the results will help providers determine the treatment to save patients.

What can affect blood pressure test readings?
What can affect blood pressure test readings?

Commonly asked questions

What can affect blood pressure test readings?

Moving while taking the test, talking while taking the test, stress, anxiety, drinking coffee several minutes before the test, eating food several minutes before the test, and smoking several minutes before the test can affect blood pressure test readings.

How often should a person take a blood pressure test?

While there is no recommended frequency, taking a blood pressure test routinely is recommended, especially if you or a patient are prone to Hypertension.

What can be done to manage and keep blood pressure at optimal levels?

Simply making adjustments to one’s lifestyle can help immensely. Adjustments can include having a diet that’s good for the heart, having less salt intake, reducing or stopping alcohol consumption, reducing or altogether avoiding tobacco products, getting regular exercise, maintaining healthy body weight, and adequately managing stress.

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