Hi everyone. I’m studying for my senior fitness certificate, and the textbook mentions taking a client’s blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer – but it also says that a trainer should have formal training before doing so. This brings up a bunch of questions:
How common is it for personal fitness trainers to take blood pressure readings?
Where does one get training in taking BP readings?
Are electronic blood pressure monitors a reliable substitute for using the sphygmomanometer? And if so, do they require special training?
Do any of you have clients with BP issues who have been cleared by their doctor to exercise in a limited way? If so, how specific are the doctors’ instructions regarding prescribed/proscribed exercise?
I had initially decided that I just wouldn’t work with clients who have BP issues, but since I’m interested in working with older adults, that may not be a realistic plan.
Working with older populations you will most likely need to take their BP. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but a lot of them have BP issues or are on some kind of medication or had heart surgery and the list goes on. Getting cleared by their doctor is one step of many in order for them to start working out. After doing their initial assessment you should have better idea of how to proceed and what issues/factors you will need to look for.
Electronic BP monitors are accurate and you can find nurses using them when you visit your doctor’s office. You should buy one for yourself and practice either on you or ask any of your family members or even friends of yours to be your “patients”.
If you have any questions about your clients even though they have been cleared by their physicians you can always contact them (physicians) and ask them questions. I usually do whenever I have questions and need more information regarding my client’s situation.
I’m not sure if my answer helps you at all.
I take blood pressure as part of my initial assessment. While rare, I had younger clients who had high blood pressure and were not aware of it. I only started training them after they had been cleared by a doctor to exercise. They were very grateful to me for finding that out.
Nowadays, an good electronic blood pressure monitor will be quite adequate but you need to get one with different cuff sizes and need to know when to use which cuff. Beyond that, there is no need for training to use this device.
Taking blood pressure the old-fashioned way is not difficult http://www.practicalclinicalskills.com/blood-pressure-measurement.aspx but it takes a little practice. I personally do it only when my machine gives me an error reading which I found happening when people have irregular heartbeats. This does not occur often at all. And depending where you take the blood pressure reading (eg. a noisy environment) you may be better off with an electronic device because some people’s BP is very heard to discern. Not sure where you can go to learn it. I was instructed at a wellness center where this used to a regular member service. Now they have a machine like the ones you find in drug stores.
Clients with high BP only typically get a clearance from the doctor, most often without any further specifications. Additional information usually pertains to the medication prescribed when it alters the heart rate response.
When you want to work with older adults, knowledge about BP is imperative. But as I indicated above, high blood pressure can be found in anybody, not only those who fit the paradigm, and it is a good idea to always take it, if only during the assessment.
Hello Tom Borromeo,
BP readings are not hard to take; just takes practice. Enjoy your studies.
Yes, I take BP readings at the first consultation and periodically afterwards…this has brought up that the client forgot to take their BP medicine that day which solved that issue. Clients usually have a better reading at home which the doctor may like to compare to office readings.
The doctor’s instructions are usually basic: exercise with no restrictions, keep on low intensity, or write in one or two specifics; not hard to follow.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
I would recommend checking blood pressure with any client that may seem like they are getting light headed during exercise. I had a client who seems like they were in great shape but almost past out after attempting a pull up.
Older populations are great to keep track of, but always keep tabs on your those who might be pushing harder than they should.