Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size

Home Blood Pressure Test

How It Is Done continued...

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.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 2/, 014
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.

Today on WebMD

blood pressure
Symptoms, causes, and more.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
Exercises that help.
heart healthy living
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
Compressed heart
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
Heart Foods Slideshow
Low Blood Pressure