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.
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.