Home Blood Pressure Test
How It Is Done continued...
record your daily activities, such as the time you take medicine or if you feel
upset or feel stressed. Your records may help explain changes in your blood
pressure readings and help your doctor adjust your medicines.
Automatic blood pressure monitors
Follow the instructions for your monitor. When you press the start button, the cuff will inflate automatically. The cuff will then deflate and the numbers on the screen will begin to drop. When the measurement is complete, your monitor displays your blood pressure and pulse rate.
Manual blood pressure monitors
A large artery (called the brachial artery) is located slightly
above the inside of your elbow. You can check its location by feeling for a
pulse in the artery with the fingers of your other hand.
are using a stethoscope, place the earpieces in your ears and the bell of the
stethoscope over the artery, just below the cuff. The stethoscope should not
rub on the cuff or your clothing, since this may cause noises that can make
your pulse hard to hear. If you are using a cuff with a built-in stethoscope
bell, be sure the part of the cuff with the stethoscope is positioned just over
the artery. The accuracy of a blood pressure recording depends on the correct
positioning of the stethoscope over the artery. You may want to have another
person who can use a stethoscope properly help you take your blood pressure.
Close the valve on the rubber inflating bulb. Squeeze the bulb
rapidly with your opposite hand to inflate the cuff until the dial or column of
mercury reads about 30 mm Hg higher than your usual
systolic pressure. (If you don't know your usual
pressure, inflate the cuff to 210 mm Hg or until the pulse at your wrist
disappears.) The pressure in the cuff will stop all blood flow within the
Now open the pressure valve just slightly by
twisting or pressing the valve on the bulb. The pressure should fall slowly at
about 2 to 3 mm Hg per second. Some blood pressure devices have a valve that
automatically controls this rate. As you watch the pressure slowly fall, note
the level on the dial at which you first start to hear a pulsing or tapping sound through the stethoscope. The sound is caused by
the blood starting to move through the closed artery. This is your
systolic blood pressure. If you have trouble hearing the
start of your pulse through the stethoscope, you can check your systolic blood
pressure by noting the level on the dial when you are able to feel the pulse at
your wrist once again.
Continue letting the air out slowly. The
sounds will become muffled and will finally disappear. Note the pressure
when the sounds completely disappear. This is your
diastolic blood pressure. Finally, let out all the
remaining air to relieve the pressure on your arm.