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.
at least 5 minutes before you take a
Sit in a comfortable, relaxed
position with both feet on the floor.
- Don't move or talk while you are measuring your
- 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
- 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 and where you place the cuff on your arm can change your
blood pressure readings. If the cuff is
too small or
too large , the measurements will not be accurate. Hospital and medical supply
stores generally carry many cuff sizes and can help make sure that your cuff