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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Checking Your Blood Pressure

Taking Your Blood Pressure continued...

3. Inflate and deflate the cuff

If you are using a manual monitor:

A. Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.

B. Close the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.

C. Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.

D. Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure. At this point, you should not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.

E. Keeping your eyes on the gauge, slowly release the pressure in the cuff by opening the airflow valve counter clockwise. The gauge should fall only two to three points with each heartbeat. (You may need to practice turning the valve slowly.)

F. Listen carefully for the first pulse beat. As soon as you hear it, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your systolic pressure.

G. Continue to slowly deflate the cuff.

H. Listen carefully until the sound disappears. As soon as you can no longer hear your pulse beat, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your diastolic pressure.

I. Allow the cuff to completely deflate.

IMPORTANT: If you released the pressure too quickly or could not hear your pulse DO NOT inflate the cuff right away. Wait one minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.

If you are using a digital monitor:

A. Hold the bulb in your right hand.

B. Press the power button. All display symbols should appear briefly, followed by a zero. This indicates that the monitor is ready.

C. Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. If you have a monitor with automatic cuff inflation, press the start button.

D. Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure.

E. Sit quietly and watch the monitor.

F. Pressure readings will be displayed on the screen. For some devices, values may appear on the left, then on the right. Most devices will also display your pulse rate.

G. Wait for a long beep. This means that the measurement is complete. Note the pressures on the display screen. Systolic pressure appears on the left and diastolic pressure on the right. Your pulse rate may also be displayed in between or after this reading.

H. Allow the cuff to deflate.

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