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How Do I Take My Blood Pressure at Home?

Tips and ideas to help you get an accurate reading

How Do I Take My Blood Pressure at Home?

Nearly half of adults in the United States should be checking their blood pressure at home, a recent study found. This helps find problems such as “white coat hypertension” – blood pressure that is high at the doctor or clinician’s office due to anxiety, but not high at home.

“Regularly tracking your blood pressure can help you keep it under control,” says nurse practitioner Sarah Greene, CRNP, with LVPG Cardiology. “Frequent readings taken when you’re at a resting state give the truest picture of what’s happening in your body.”

So, sit back, relax and let these home-testing tips take some of the pressure off you.

Is home monitoring for me?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends monitoring at home, in addition to regular doctor or clinician visits and treatment, for all people with high blood pressure. “Those who have risk factors for high blood pressure may also find home monitoring useful,” Greene says.

Keeping a written log of the measurements you take at home can benefit both you and your doctor or clinician. By sharing your at-home readings with them, they can review your progress to ensure that you are receiving the right treatment.

Tips for testing at home

“With practice and a little guidance, blood pressure monitoring can be integrated seamlessly into your daily routine,” she says. Here are some tips to measure like a pro:

Plan and prep

Before taking your blood pressure:

  • Make a schedule. Monitor at the same time every day in the morning, and then again in the afternoon.
  • 30 minutes before testing: Don’t exercise, smoke or consume caffeine.
  • Five minutes before: Sit down and rest.

Secure your set-up

When you’re ready to take your blood pressure:

  • Sit still and think calming thoughts. Don’t talk.
  • Rest your arm comfortably on a flat surface. Position the bottom of the arm cuff directly above the bend of your elbow.
  • Place your feet flat on the floor. Don’t cross your legs.
  • Sit up straight with your back supported by the chair.
  • “Avoid using wrist or finger monitors,” Greene says. “They’re less reliable than monitors with upper arm cuffs.”

Record and repeat

After measuring your blood pressure:

  • Record all your results, including the date, time and your blood pressure number.
  • Recheck your blood pressure one or two more times – about a minute apart – and record again.

Your blood pressure log may look something like this:

 Date Time  Round 1 Blood Pressure (mmHg) Round 2 Blood Pressure (mmHG)
 1/1/2024  8 a.m.  120/80  120/78
 1/1/2024  1 p.m.  120/78  120/78
 1/2/2024  8 a.m.  123/80  123/83

Check in at your checkup

While you may have mastered the art of at-home testing, have your doctor or clinician confirm that you’re using your monitor correctly and getting the same results as the equipment in the office.

The AHA recommends using an automatic, cuff-style upper-arm monitor at home.

“Once a year, bring the monitor to an appointment so that your doctor or clinician can ensure the readings are accurate,” Greene says. “Ask your them what your blood pressure should be and what to do if it’s high.”

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Could you have high blood pressure?

See your doctor or clinician to find out.

Don’t have one? Find one here.

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