In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:
Find a quiet place. (You will need to listen for your heartbeat.)
Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed. (It's best to take blood pressure from the left arm, if possible.)
Rest in a chair next to a table for five to 10 minutes. (Your left arm should rest comfortably at heart level.)
Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed.
Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
Taking Your Blood Pressure
If you purchase a manual or digital blood pressure monitor, follow the instruction booklet carefully. The following steps provide an overview of how to take your blood pressure using either a manual or digital blood pressure monitor.
Locate your pulse by lightly pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside center of the bend of the elbow. Here you can feel the pulse of the brachial artery. If you cannot locate a pulse, place the head of the stethoscope (on a manual monitor) or the arm cuff (on a digital monitor) in the same general area.
2. Secure the cuff
A. Thread the cuff end through the metal loop and slide the cuff onto your arm, making sure that the stethoscope head is over the artery. (When using a manual monitor, the cuff may be marked with an arrow to show the location of the stethoscope head.) The lower edge of the cuff should be about 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. Use the Velcro wrap to make the cuff snug, but not too tight.
B. Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the earpiece slightly forward to get the best sound.