Checking your blood pressure at home is an important part of managing high blood pressure (hypertension).
Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure in a familiar setting, make certain your medication is working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home can:
- Help with early diagnosis.
- Help track your treatment.
- Encourage better control.
- Cut your health care costs.
- Check if your blood pressure differs outside the doctor’s office.
If your blood pressure is well-controlled, check with your doctor about how often you need to check it.
What is the correct way to measure blood pressure?
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether you’re getting it checked at the doctor’s office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Don’t measure your blood pressure right after you wake up
- Don’t 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.
It’s also a good idea to have your blood pressure measured in both arms at least once, since the reading in one arm (usually the right) may be higher than that in the left.
How often should I measure my blood pressure?
Talk with your health care team about how often you should have your blood pressure measured or when to measure it yourself. People who have high blood pressure may need to measure their blood pressure more often than people who do not have high blood pressure.
Why keep a blood pressure journal?
One blood pressure measurement is like a snapshot. It only tells what your blood pressure is at that moment. A record of readings taken over time provides a “time-lapse” picture of your blood pressure that can help you partner with your physician to ensure that your treatments to lower high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) are working.
There are many ways to lower blood pressure, including medication, getting more exercise, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, not smoking, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, lowering stress and losing weight.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home doesn’t have to be complicated or inconvenient. In the long run, you might risk fewer complications related to high blood pressure and enjoy a healthier life.
- Get the most out of home blood pressure monitoring
- How to accurately measure blood pressure at home
- Tips to measure your blood pressure correctly
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