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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Home Blood Pressure Test

How It Feels

You may feel some discomfort when the blood pressure cuff inflates, squeezing your arm.


There are no risks or complications from this test.


Blood pressure for adults age 18 and older (mm Hg)2


119 or below


79 or below



120 to 139


80 to 89



140 or above


90 or above

Blood pressure readings of less than 90/60 mm Hg are normal as long as you feel well. In general, the lower your blood pressure, the better. But if you have low blood pressure and feel lightheaded, faint, or like you may vomit, talk to your doctor.

What Affects the Test

Blood pressure normally goes up and down from day to day and even from moment to moment. Blood pressure tends to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Stress, smoking, eating, exercise, cold, pain, noise, medicines, and even talking can affect it. A single high reading does not mean you have high blood pressure, and a single normal reading does not necessarily mean you do not have high blood pressure. The average of several repeated measurements throughout the day is more accurate than a single reading.

Your blood pressure may only be high when you go to your doctor's office. This is called white-coat (or office) hypertension and may be caused by stress about seeing your doctor. When you regularly check your blood pressure at home, you may find that your blood pressure is lower when you are not at the doctor's office.

What To Think About

Do not adjust your blood pressure medicines based on home blood pressure readings unless your doctor tells you to.

Other Places To Get Help


American Heart Association (AHA)
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX  75231
Phone: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721)
Web Address:

Visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website for information on physical activity, diet, and various heart-related conditions. You can search for information on heart disease and stroke, share information with friends and family, and use tools to help you make heart-healthy goals and plans. Contact the AHA to find your nearest local or state AHA group. The AHA provides brochures and information about support groups and community programs, including Mended Hearts, a nationwide organization whose members visit people with heart problems and provide information and support.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD  20824-0105
Phone: (301) 592-8573
Fax: (240) 629-3246
TDD: (240) 629-3255
Web Address:

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) information center offers information and publications about preventing and treating:

  • Diseases affecting the heart and circulation, such as heart attacks, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, and heart problems present at birth (congenital heart diseases).
  • Diseases that affect the lungs, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, sleep apnea, and pneumonia.
  • Diseases that affect the blood, such as anemia, hemochromatosis, hemophilia, thalassemia, and von Willebrand disease.

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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