If you want to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis, you can do so at home easily using an automated or digital blood pressure machine. You should always take any blood pressure medications at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
To accurately measure your blood pressure at home:
- Place the cuff on your upper arm.
- Relax your arm and place it on the arm of the chair or a table.
- Press the button on the blood pressure machine to inflate the cuff and sit calmly without talking (talking can raise the reading).
- Jot down the result.
- After a minute, take a second blood pressure reading and jot down that reading as well.
- Repeat this twice a day for a week and keep a diary of the blood pressure readings.
Tips to make sure your at-home blood pressure reading is accurate
Tips to keep in mind while measuring your resting blood pressure at home include the following:
- Check the device’s accuracy. Before using a monitor for the first time, have your doctor check its accuracy against the office model. Also, let your doctor oversee you once while using the device to make sure you’re using it properly. If the device is dropped or damaged, have it checked before using it again.
- Measure your blood pressure twice daily. The first measurement should be in the morning before eating or taking any medications, and the second in the evening. While measuring, take 2-3 readings to make sure the results are accurate. Your doctor may also recommend taking your blood pressure at the same time each day.
- Don’t measure your blood pressure right after waking up. If you tend to work out in the morning, measure your blood pressure beforehand.
- Avoid food, caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement.
- Go to the bathroom beforehand, since a full bladder can elevate your blood pressure slightly.
- Before using the device, sit quietly for about 5 minutes in a comfortable position with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back well-supported.
- Stay calm, avoid thinking about stressful things, and don’t talk to anyone while your blood pressure is being measured.
- Always use the same arm, and make sure it is positioned properly. Rest your arm at the level of your heart. Place a pillow or cushion underneath it to elevate it high enough, if required.
- Place the cuff on bare skin, not over clothing. Rolling up a sleeve until it tightens around the arm can result in an inaccurate reading.
- Wait for 1-3 minutes after the first reading, and then take another to check its accuracy.
Morning and evening are good times to measure your blood pressure. Remember, blood pressure varies throughout the day, and readings are often a little higher in the morning. Also, your blood pressure may be slightly lower at home than in a medical office, with the difference typically being around 5 points.
Don’t be alarmed if you get an unexpectedly high reading. One high reading is usually nothing to worry about. Measure your blood pressure again at another time. If your blood pressure is consistently high or abnormal, discuss it with your doctor.
How are blood pressure levels categorized?
There are four blood pressure categories:
- Normal blood pressure: Systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: Systolic between 120-139 and diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg
- Stage I hypertension: Systolic between 140-159 and diastolic between 90-99 mm Hg
- Stage II hypertension: Systolic above 160 and diastolic above 100 mm Hg
Monitoring your blood pressure levels can help you prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and related health problems. If you notice that your blood pressure readings are getting higher, talk to your doctor. They can help you set goals and recommend lifestyle changes that can help you get the numbers back down and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Medical Association. 7 Simple Tips to Get An Accurate Blood Pressure Measurement. https://www.heart.org/-/media/files/professional/million-hearts/success-stories/7-simple-tips-to-get-accurate-blood-pressure-ucm_493556.pdf
Top What Is the Proper Way to Take Your Blood Pressure Related Articles
Blood Pressure Readings: Chart, Normal, High, LowBlood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
Blood Pressure PictureThe blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. See a picture of Blood Pressure and learn more about the health topic.
What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges by Age For Men and Women?What is normal, low and high blood pressure? Find charts of blood pressure readings and ranges for men and women of different ages. Discover what causes high and low blood pressure and how to prevent it.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
High Blood Pressure & BodyHigh blood pressure puts you at risk for a number of other conditions. Here's what to look out for.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)? Symptoms, TreatmentsWhat causes high blood pressure (hypertension)? What is normal blood pressure? Know the warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure. Read about high blood pressure medications, diet, and long-term treatments.
HBP QuizTake this quiz and test your IQ of high blood pressure (hypertension), the cardiovascular disease that causes most strokes and heart attacks. How are dizziness, snoring, and gout related to HBP? Find the answer and learn how medical treatments and lifestyle adjustments fight this common problem.
Things to Know About High Blood Pressure TreatmentHigh blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include lifestyle modifications (alcohol, smoking, coffee, salt, diet, exercise), drugs and medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha blockers, clonidine, minoxidil, and Exforge.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure in Minutes?Learn how to lower your high blood pressure quickly and how to better manage this condition.
How Do I Know If I Have High or Low Blood Pressure Numbers?High or low blood pressure can lead to serious health conditions. Learn more about what you should do if your pressure is outside the ideal range.
How to Lower My Blood Pressure ImmediatelyIf you face any complications of high blood pressure such as a stroke or heart attack, contact your physician without any delay. Do not attempt home remedies in such grave situations. If you have high blood pressure, without any complications, the first thing to do is to calm down and lie flat.
Is 120 Over 60 a Good Blood Pressure Reading?If your systolic blood pressure is normal (between 100-120), and your diastolic blood pressure is lower (60 or below), you are considered to have low blood pressure, or isolated diastolic hypotension. Low diastolic blood pressure should be monitored closely.
Is A Manual Blood Pressure More Accurate?Manual blood pressure gives accurate results when used correctly by a trained person. However, manual blood pressure measurement is not the recommended type of blood pressure monitoring for home use because it requires some training.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Low Blood PressureWhat is low blood pressure (hypotension)? Explore low blood pressure causes, symptoms, and signs. Discover what is considered low blood pressure.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure in Pregnancy?