Simple Guide to Monitoring Your Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure or have other medical reasons for needing to monitor your blood pressure at home, don’t worry– it’s not difficult. As you relax and prepare to record your blood pressure levels, this guide will help you learn tips to monitor your own blood pressure. If you have any problems or questions, you should always consult a medical professional.

Get a cuff that fits right

It’s important to get a cuff that fits your arm correctly. It should be able to fit around your upper arm and should be able to squeeze gently to get a good blood pressure reading once the cuff releases. You should not try to take your blood pressure over your clothing–slip your arm out of your sleeve if you need to reach your upper arm.

Sit still

It’s important that you don’t do any rigorous exercise 30 minutes before taking a blood pressure reading. Also, don’t drink coffee, alcohol, or take drugs. It’s smart to sit for about five minutes before taking a blood pressure reading. When you do the reading, sit up straight in a chair with your feet on the floor and don’t cross your ankles. Don’t talk while taking your blood pressure. Rest your arm (the one in the cuff) on a table or counter surface while taking the reading.

Take a few readings

The best way to see where you’re really at is to take several blood pressure readings in the same sitting. Take them each about a minute apart and be sure to record each one. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg (systolic pressure is 120 AND diastolic pressure is less than 80).

 

Measure at the same time each day

To get an accurate reading of your blood pressure, it’s important that you measure at the same time each day. Your readings can vary from morning to evening, so by doing it at the same time every day, you’ll reduce any seemingly high or low numbers.

 

Record your results

It’s important to write down all your results so you know exactly what your monitor was telling you each time. Some monitors will record the data for you, otherwise plan to write it down in a small notebook. You should call your doctor if you get several high readings right in a row since that could be a signal that something is wrong.