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How can you check for heart disease at home?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 27, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

You can check for heart disease at home by measuring your pulse rate and your blood pressure if you have a blood pressure monitor. You can also monitor yourself for symptoms of heart disease, such as:

  • Chest pain, pressure, discomfort, or tightness
  • Being short of breath
  • Experiencing numbness, coldness, weakness, or pain in your toes, feet, or fingers
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, especially when you stand up or fainting for no apparent reason
  • Headaches
  • A fluttering, racing, irregular, or slow heartbeat
  • Pain that radiates up your neck, throat, jaw, or across your upper abdomen or back
  • Pale gray or blue skin color
  • Swelling in the lower legs, ankles, feet, or hands
  • Easily becoming short of breath or tired with light amounts of physical activity
  • Feeling tired or fatigued all the time.

These are some of the symptoms that may indicate you have heart disease, but for many people, heart disease has no symptoms, that is why it is often referred to as the “silent killer”. It is not until a person experiences a significant event (such as a heart attack or stroke) or their doctor runs some tests as part of a routine checkup, that they discover damage or changes to their heart and/or blood vessels. If you have any risk factors for heart disease listed below, see your doctor at least every year for a checkup.

How do you measure your pulse at home?

You will need an analog watch (one with a clock face rather than digital numbers) with a second hand. Place your index and middle finger of your hand on the hollow part of your inner wrist of the other arm, just below the base of the thumb. You should feel a tapping or pulse against your fingers, that is your heartbeat. Look at your watch and count the number of taps you feel in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to find out your heart rate for 1 minute.

A normal pulse is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

How do you measure your blood pressure at home?

To measure your blood pressure at home, you will need a blood pressure monitor. There are many different sorts of home blood pressure monitors, so you will need to follow the instructions that came with yours. Some have an arm cuff and some have a wrist cuff. Measure in a quiet room after you have been still for 5 minutes. Keep still during reading and take two or three readings, each about one to two minutes apart. Keep a record of your measurements.

A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.

References
  • Heart Disease. Mayo Clinic. 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118
  • High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/a

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