– Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Blood Pressure (BP) and Heart Rate (HR)

You will want to get accurate BP and HR readings, but many factors can alter these. For example, your client or patient may be nervous or anxious upon arrival. Perhaps they had to walk a distance or up a flight of stairs. When I first meet with a client, I will always start with BP and HR readings, but not before they have a chance to sit down and relax. During this interim time, we always take a few minutes and discuss the PAR-Q. This is a great time to break the ice with a discussion about the PAR-Q and discuss any movement or physical challenges they face. Once we have had this discussion and the client has had a chance to relax, I take resting heart rate and blood pressure readings.

Special note for movement specialists:

• I ALWAYS ask permission before touching my client, every single time

Heart Rate:

place two fingers on the radial artery, located on the thumb side of the wrist. When you feel your client’s pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate beats per minute. OR take the pulse for one full minute (which is what I prefer to do). I always choose to use the right arm unless there is something preventing me from doing so.

Blood Pressure:

A standard BP cuff will work for most people. Occasionally, you may need to use a larger or smaller cuff to get an accurate read. Follow the instructions on the device you are using and administer the procedure. Some devices offer a choice of taking a single read or taking an average of three readings, administered with one click of a button. I choose to go with the average of three. Again, I use the right arm, unless there is a reason not to. An example of when not to use a particular arm would be if someone is wearing a cast, or perhaps they have a fistula in the arm (used for dialysis). Never take a BP reading on an arm with a fistula. Placing pressure on a fistula puts pressure on veins and can cause thrombosis.