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Home Blood Pressure Test

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High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

Why It Is Done

Home blood pressure monitoring measures your blood pressure at different times and in different places (such as at home and at work) during the day. It may be done to:

  • Find out if you have high blood pressure.
  • Keep track of how well medicine taken to reduce blood pressure is working.
  • Check how lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, are affecting blood pressure. Home monitoring can help people feel more involved in and more in control of their own health care.
  • Watch for changes in blood pressure that may be side effects of medicines.
  • Check for problems with high blood pressure during pregnancy or with preeclampsia. To learn more, see the topic Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is often used if there is a big difference between the blood pressure readings you get at home and your readings in your doctor's office.

How To Prepare

Before you take your blood pressure

  • Don't eat, smoke, or exercise for at least 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure. And don't use any medicines that can raise blood pressure, such as certain nasal sprays.
  • Rest at least 5 minutes before you take a reading. Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position with both feet on the floor.
  • Don't move or talk while you are measuring your blood pressure.
  • Try not to take your blood pressure if you are nervous or upset.
  • If you can, use the same arm for every reading. Readings may be 10 to 20 mm Hg different between your right arm and your left arm.

Remember that blood pressure readings vary throughout the day. They usually are highest in the morning after you wake up and move around. They decrease throughout the day and are lowest in the evening.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

If you have an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, you do not need to do anything to prepare. The monitor will automatically take your blood pressure while you do your normal daily activities.

How It Is Done

actionset.gif High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

Buying and maintaining a monitor

When you buy a blood pressure monitor, be sure to buy the correct size. The size of the blood pressure cuff camera.gif and where you place the cuff on your arm can change your blood pressure readings. If the cuff is too small camera.gif or too large camera.gif, the measurements will not be accurate. Hospital and medical supply stores generally carry many cuff sizes and can help make sure that your cuff fits you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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