What Equipment Do I Need To Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or digital monitor. Choose the type of monitor that best meets your needs. Look at the following features when you select a monitor.
- Size: The right cuff size is very important. The cuff size you need is based on the size of your arm. You can ask the doctor, nurse, orpharmacist to help you. Blood pressure readings can be wrong if your cuff is the wrong size.
- Price: Cost may be a key factor. Home blood pressure units vary in price. You may want to shop around to find the best deal. Keep in mind that pricey units may not be the best or most accurate.
- Display: The numbers on the monitor should be easy for you to read.
- Sound: You must be able to hear your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
Tests show that finger and wrist devices do not always provide correct measurements. These devices are sensitive to placement and body temperature. They also are expensive and can cost more than $100.
The aneroid monitor manually checks your blood pressure. It has a gauge that you read by looking at a pointer on the dial. The cuff goes around your upper arm and you squeeze a rubber bulb to inflate it by hand.
Inflation of the cuff is either automatic or manual, depending on the model. Deflation is automatic. Digital monitors are good for hearing-impaired patients, since there is no need to listen to your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
What Steps Should I Take While Checking My Blood Pressure At Home
Before taking your blood pressure
- Find a quiet place.
- Check to be sure you have the correct size cuff. If you are not sure, or if you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed and on the ground.
- Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
- You should not talk, read the newspaper, or watch television during this process.
Taking your blood pressure
If you buy a manual or digital blood pressure monitor , follow the instruction booklet carefully.
Record your blood pressure
If you have been asked to record your blood pressure and bring your readings to the office, please write down the date, time of day, systolic and diastolic numbers, heart rate, and which arm you took the reading on. If you are taking part in a program that has remote monitoring, your blood pressure readings are automatically shared with your medical provider. If you are unsure, please ask your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/23/2018.
Tips For Taking Your Blood Pressure At Home
Its not uncommon for patients to have normal blood pressure readings at home but high blood pressure readings at their doctor appointments. This can be very frustrating for hypertensive patients, especially those who are diligent about keeping their high blood pressure under control.
Patients often are nervous about what their blood pressure will be when its measured at their doctors office, and that anxiety causes their blood pressure to go up. Its known as white coat hypertension, and its particularly common among elderly patients.
For that reason, I encourage my patients who take hypertension medication to monitor their blood pressure numbers at home.
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How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home Using
But you dont need to go to your doctor just to get a blood pressure reading. The easiest way to monitor your own blood pressure at home is to get a machine that has a blood pressure calculator and digital display.
Purchase a blood pressure monitor cuff that wraps around the upper arm. The cuff should fit well, and not be too loose or too tight when not in use. Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because the readings arent as reliable. When choosing a blood pressure monitor, take it to your doctors office. They may be able to show you how to use it properly and check whether the machine provides accurate readings.
Here are some tips to follow while measuring your blood pressure at home:
- Before measuring your blood pressure, sit quietly for 5 minutes with your arm relaxed on a supporting surface at the level of your heart.
- Your back should be supported and both feet should be flat on the floor.
- The cuff should be positioned on your upper arm as instructed on the guide that came with the monitor. It is easier to use your non-dominant arm .
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, or exercise at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Do not take a reading if stressed or angry.
Blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association are as follows:
- Normal: Below 120/80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: 120-139/80-90 mm Hg
Tips For Checking Your Own Blood Pressure
There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:
- Certain medicines
Try to avoid as many of these factors as you can when taking your blood pressure. Also, try to measure your blood pressure at about the same time each day. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times during the day to see if it fluctuates.
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Try To Check Around The Same Time
“It is good to do this at the same time each day as your blood pressure changes throughout the day,” Andersen says. Just a heads up, though: It’s best not to take your blood pressure first thing. “Your blood pressure after awakening is most often the highest blood pressure of the day,” Dr. Andersen says.
Don’t Drink Caffeine Or Exercise 30 Minutes Beforehand
“Caffeine can elevate your blood pressure, so it is best to avoid for 30 minutes before taking your reading,” Dr. Andersen explains. “Your blood pressure increases as you exercise, and it will take a few minutes for it to return to baseline.”
If you find that your blood pressure is consistently high, it’s time to call your doctor, Dr. Wong says. “You’ll want to see your doctor and come up with a treatment plan,” she says. “We tend to start with lifestyle modifications and go from there. But getting treated is crucial.”
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How To Check Blood Pressure With No Cuff
This article was co-authored by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 108,242 times.
Your blood pressure measure the force your blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves around your body and is an important indicator of your health. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope instruments that most people do not have at home, but are necessary for an accurate reading. If you want to check if your systolic blood pressure is normal, you can use your pulse for a rough estimate. Diastolic blood pressure must always be done with an arm cuff or stethoscope.XResearch source
What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure Reading
Your blood pressure measures the force of the blood being pushed through your body as your heart beats.
The first number is called your systolic pressure. It measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart pumps. The second number is called your diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in your blood vessels in between heartbeats.
A blood pressure reading is considered healthy if it is 120/80 millimeters of mercury or below. Any blood pressure above this is considered elevated or abnormal.
A single blood pressure reading in the higher range isnt cause for concern, but if youre regularly getting higher readings, a medical professional will make a plan to help you lower your numbers.
Elevated blood pressure categories include:
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Where Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked
You can get your blood pressure measured
- By a health care team member at a doctors office.
- At a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure measurement machine.
- With a home blood pressure monitor that you can use yourself.
Take this form pdf icon with you on your first blood pressure visit to record important blood pressure-related information.
Whats A Normal Blood Pressure
For most patients, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 for systolic and less than 80 for diastolic .
At the doctors office, a systolic measurement of 120 to 139 and a diastolic of 80 to 89 are considered prehypertension for most patients. Anything above 140/90 is considered hypertension.
Away from the doctors office, a reading above 135/85 is considered to be high often, people are more relaxed during readings that dont occur at the doctors office.
Aside from white coat hypertension, other factors can cause your blood pressure to read higher at the doctors office. When a patient has to use the restroom, his/her blood pressure can increase slightly. Likewise, if a patient has to walk up a flight of stairs to reach the doctors office or is frustrated by a long wait to see the physician, his/her blood pressure may increase.
Consider monitoring your blood pressure at home if youre concerned that your regular check-ups dont provide an accurate view of your blood pressure.
If your at-home readings are higher than your target range, request an appointment with your doctor to make sure youre measuring correctly at home, and to rule out another health condition.
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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
As a general guide:
- normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.
What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.
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How Do I Take My Blood Pressure
Before taking your blood pressure:
- Find a quiet place.
- Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for five to 10 minutes.
- 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.
Is Using A Home Blood Pressure Monitor Right For You
Measuring your blood pressure with a home blood pressure monitor can be very useful, but its not for everyone. Some people become more anxious when they start measuring at home and end up taking readings too often, this can even temporarily raise your blood pressure.
In our 2016 survey of home monitoring, nine out of 10 said home monitoring is helpful, reassuring or empowering, while 13% found it caused anxiety.
Before you decide to try monitoring your blood pressure at home, ask yourself: will using a home blood pressure monitor make me feel more relaxed or more worried?
Some health problems may also mean that home monitoring isnt suitable for you, for example conditions that affect your pulse such as . There is also little known about the benefits of home monitoring during and for people with . Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether home monitoring is suitable for you.
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Testing Your Blood Pressure At Home
Your GP may suggest 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring if they think you may have high blood pressure .
ABPM tests your blood pressure regularly over 24 hours, by using a cuff attached to a portable device that’s worn on your waist.
You can continue with your daily activities during this time.
If you want to regularly check your blood pressure at home, you can buy a machine.
Check Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force or pressure exerted in the arteries by the blood as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It is recorded as two measurements:
- Systolic pressure: pressure in the arteries during the period of the heart’s contraction
- Diastolic pressure: pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed, between heartbeats
A doctor or nurse can listen to your blood pressure by placing a stethoscope on your artery and pumping up a cuff placed around your arm. The blood pressure is read on a special meter called a sphygmomanometer.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury , which refers to how high the pressure in the arteries can raise a column of mercury in the sphygmomanometer.
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Are You Taking Your Pressure Too Often Due To Fluctuations
Your pressure can change throughout the day. Sometimes from minute to minute or hour to hour. Slight variations are normal but shouldnt be a concern . Because of these fluctuations, you may take your blood pressure too often. The extra measurements arent necessary.
A common cause of getting different 2 different readings, even minutes apart can be because you didnt prepare properly for the first reading. Something like being as unrelaxed as you should have been for the first reading is very common. By the time you take the 2nd measurement, your body has had a few more minutes to calm down and relax resultingly in a lower number.
How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.
Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3
Use these additional tips for SMBP:4
- Use a blood pressure log pdf icon to record your blood pressure measurements.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
- Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.
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Where Can You Buy A Blood Pressure Monitor
You can buy blood pressure monitors directly from the manufacturer, from many local pharmacies , from pharmacies such as Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy either online or in large branches, or online from retailers such as Amazon and John Lewis.
The British and Irish Hypertension Society also have a list of clinically validated home blood pressure monitors on their website, as well as a list of monitors for use in clinic.
Blood Pressure UK no longer sell blood pressure monitors and we don’t recommend any particular companies or models.
How Do I Measure My Blood Pressure
Before you check your blood pressure, you should:
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or using caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Rest for 3 to 5 minutes and do not talk.
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
- Elevate your left arm to the level of your heart. Place it on a table or desk and sit still.
- Wrap the cuff around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should be smooth and snug. There should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
- Check the placement of the cuff. The bottom edge of it should be 1 inch above the crease of your elbow.
Below are the steps to take to use an aneroid monitor.
Below are the steps to take to use a digital monitor.
- Turn the power on to start the unit.
- On the automatic models, the cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button. On the manual models, you have to inflate the cuff. You do this by squeezing the rubber bulb at a rapid rate.
- After the cuff inflates, the automatic device will slowly let air out.
- Look at the display screen to get your blood pressure reading. It will show your systolic and diastolic pressures. Write down the measurement in your record. The systolic pressure goes in front of the diastolic pressure. For example, 120/80.
- Press the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
- If you need to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before starting.
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