How To Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
If you have high blood pressure or are concerned about high blood pressure due to family history, a simple way to keep it under control is by monitoring your blood pressure at home.
Accurate, affordable, easy to use home blood pressure monitors are available at drug stores, warehouse stores, and at most stores with pharmacies.
Home Blood Pressure Monitors
The monitors are automated and do not require a stethoscope. The most accurate are cuff monitors you wrap around your arm (usually your left arm). Skip low cost, less accurate, wrist and finger monitors. Keeping your blood pressure under control can be life saving, and a reliable monitor costs less than $100.
Automated cuff monitors are easy to use. Turn on the monitor, wrap the cuff securely around your arm, and press the start button. The cuff will inflate and deflate. As the cuff deflates, the monitor will display your blood pressure. If the cuff was not installed correctly, you will get an error message. Many monitors will store 30 or more readings in memory so you can access the date, time, and blood pressure over time.
To get an accurate assessment of your blood pressure check it in the morning and again at night two or three times during the week. If your monitor has a memory you do not have to write down the results. Do not unplug a monitor with built in memory. You can clear the memory.
If your blood pressure is high, write down the result and discuss it with your doctor.
How To Check Your Blood Pressure
For the most accurate readings:
- Sit with your feet on the floor. Rest your back against a chair, and place your arm on a table or other flat surface.
- Sit quietly for five minutes before wrapping the cuff around your bare upper arm. Don’t check your blood pressure through clothing.
- Understand what the numbers mean. Less than 120/80 is ideal but not absolute for good health. High blood pressure is anything above 140/90. The top number is your systolic pressure (blood pressure when your heart pumps blood). The bottom number is your diastolic pressure (the pressure between heart beats).
Source: Harvard Health Letter May 2015