Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care BP checks warning signs Underlying Cause

Decreased Blood Pressure Home Care

Home care for hypotension includes:

  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Dehydration prevention:
  • If you feel faint:
    • Lie down.
    • Elevate your feet above your heart for 10-20 minutes.
  • Learn how to take your own pulse.
  • Learn how to take your blood pressure.
  • Check your blood pressure every day:
    • Keep a blood pressure diary.
  • Rise slowly from a sitting position.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Decreased Blood Pressure BP Checks

If you have episodes of hypotension, it is important to learn how monitor your blood pressure at home.

Taking your Blood Pressure
A number of devices are available for home blood pressure measurement. Digital blood pressure devices are easy to use: they automatically calculate the pulse and display the systolic and diastolic pressures. However, a simple blood pressure cuff with a stethoscope is the most accurate way to measure blood pressure.

Tips for Measuring an Accurate Blood Pressure

  • Remain seated or supine with the arm supported at heart level.
  • Do not smoking or ingest caffeine for 30 minutes prior to measurement.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • The blood pressure air bladder should nearly encircle the arm: persons with large arms may require an extra large adult cuff. Cuffs are usually marked to indicate the acceptable size range.
  • Apply cuff 1/2 inch above elbow crease.
  • Locate brachial pulse and place the stethoscope bell at this location.
  • With the valve closed, pump up cuff bulb to approximately 210 mm Hg, or a point where no sounds are heard through the stethoscope.
  • Open the valve slowly (2-3 mm Hg per second) and listen for the point where the tapping sounds are first heard. The corresponding reading on the dial is the systolic pressure. And then, listen for the point where the tapping sounds stop. The corresponding reading on the dial is the diastolic pressure.
  • Perform two more readings per session, separated by 5 minutes.
  • The blood pressure must be elevated during at least 3 separate sessions to diagnose hypertension.

Systolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
Systolic Blood PressureAssessment
Over 140-159Hypertension Stage 1
160 or higherHypertension Stage 2

Diastolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
Diastolic Blood PressureAssessment
Below 80Normal
90-99Hypertension Stage 1
100 or higherHypertension Stage 2

Decreased Blood Pressure Warning Signs

Continue to Decreased Blood Pressure Underlying Cause

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Decreased Blood Pressure References
  1. Duschek S, Schandry R. Cognitive performance and cerebral blood flow in essential hypotension. Psychophysiology. 2004 Nov;41(6):905-13. [15563343]
  2. Jones AE, Aborn LS, Kline JA. Severity of emergency department hypotension predicts adverse hospital outcome. Shock. 2004 Nov;22(5):410-4. [15489632]
  3. Schrezenmaier C, Gehrking JA, Hines SM, Low PA, Benrud-Larson LM, Sandroni P. Evaluation of orthostatic hypotension: relationship of a new self-report instrument to laboratory-based measures. Mayo Clin Proc. 2005 Mar;80(3):330-4. [15757013]
  4. Sclater A, Alagiakrishnan K. Orthostatic hypotension. A primary care primer for assessment and treatment. Geriatrics. 2004 Aug;59(8):22-7. [15332413]
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