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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Home Blood Pressure Test

How It Is Done continued...

Take your new monitor to your doctor's office to make sure it is working right. Have your health professional take your blood pressure and then compare that result with your own device. Ask your health professional to watch you use your monitor to make sure that you are using it correctly. It is a good idea to have your monitor checked every year.

Check your blood pressure cuff frequently to see that the rubber tubing, bulb, valves, and cuff are in good condition. Even a small hole or crack in the tubing can lead to inaccurate results.

Taking your blood pressure

Your blood pressure in your right arm may be higher or lower than the blood pressure in your left arm. For this reason, try to use the same arm for every reading.

Ask your doctor if you should take your blood pressure at the same time of day each time you take it, or if you should take your blood pressure at different times of the day. Blood pressure readings rise and fall at different times during the day. They are usually highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.

At first it is a good idea to take your blood pressure 3 times in a row, 5 or 10 minutes apart. As you get more comfortable taking your own blood pressure, you will only need to measure it once or twice each time.

Ask your doctor how often you should take your blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure more often if your blood pressure is not well-controlled or if you are taking different medicines or changing doses of a medicine.1

The instructions for using blood pressure monitors vary depending upon the type of blood pressure monitor you choose. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Take your blood pressure while you feel comfortable and relaxed. Sit quietly for at least 5 minutes with both feet on the floor. Try not to move or talk while you are measuring your blood pressure.
  • Sit with your arm slightly bent and resting comfortably on a table so that your upper arm is on the same level as your heart.
  • Place the blood pressure cuff on the skin of your upper arm. You may have to roll up your sleeve, remove your arm from the sleeve, or take your shirt off.
  • Wrap the blood pressure cuff snugly around your upper arm so that the lower edge of the cuff is about 1 in. (2.5 cm) above the bend of your elbow.

Keeping a blood pressure diary

Record your blood pressure numbers with the date and time. You might use a log book or a spreadsheet on your computer. Your monitor might have a feature that will record your numbers for you. Some monitors can transfer this information to your computer.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 29, 2013
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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