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Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

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Step-by-Step Blood Pressure Check continued...

If you released the pressure too quickly or could not hear your pulse, DO NOT inflate the cuff again right away. Wait one minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.

If you are using a digital monitor:

  • Hold the bulb in your right hand.
  • Press the power button. All display symbols should appear briefly, followed by a zero. This indicates that the monitor is ready.
  • Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. If you have a monitor with automatic cuff inflation, press the start button.
  • Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure.
  • Sit quietly and watch the monitor. Pressure readings will be displayed on the screen. For some devices, values may appear on the left, then on the right.
  • Wait for a long beep. This means that the measurement is complete. Note the pressures on the display screen. Systolic pressure (the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats) appears on the left and diastolic pressure (the blood pressure between heartbeats) on the right. Your pulse rate may also be displayed in between or after this reading.
  • Allow the cuff to deflate.

If you did not get an accurate reading, DO NOT inflate the cuff again right away. Wait one minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.

4. Record your blood pressure.

Follow your doctor's instructions on when and how often you should measure your blood pressure. Record the date, time, systolic and diastolic pressures. You should also record any special circumstances like any recent exercise, meal, or stressful event.

At least once a year, and especially after you first purchase your blood pressure monitor, bring your monitor with you to your doctor's visit to check the machine’s accuracy. This is done by comparing a blood pressure reading from your machine with one from the doctor's office machine.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC on May 08, 2012
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