How to check blood pressure

Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

You don’t always have to go to your doctor’s office to have your blood pressure checked; you can monitor your own blood pressure at home. This is especially important if your doctor recommends your blood pressure be monitored on a regular basis.

Why should I measure my blood pressure at home and keep a record of it?

Measuring your blood pressure at home and keeping a record of the measurements will show you and your doctor how much your blood pressure changes during the day. Your doctor can use your record of measurements to see how well your medicine is working to control your high blood pressure. Also, measuring your own blood pressure is a good way to take part in managing your own health and recognizing changes.

What equipment do I need to measure my blood pressure?

To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or a digital monitor. Choose the type of monitor that best suits your needs.

The aneroid monitor has a gauge that is read by looking at a pointer on a dial. The cuff is placed around your upper arm and inflated by hand, by squeezing a rubber bulb.

Digital monitors have either manual or automatic cuffs. The blood pressure reading flashes on a small screen.

How to check blood pressure (blood pressure measurement)?

1. Locate your pulse

Locate your pulse by lightly pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside center of the bend of your elbow (where the brachial artery is). If you cannot locate your pulse, place the head of the stethoscope (on a manual monitor) or the arm cuff (on a digital monitor) in the same general area.

2. Secure the cuff

Thread the cuff end through the metal loop and slide the cuff onto your arm, making sure that the stethoscope head is over the artery (when using a manual monitor.) The cuff may be marked with an arrow to show the location of the stethoscope head. The lower edge of the cuff should be about 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. Use the fabric fastener to make the cuff snug, but not too tight.
Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the ear pieces slightly forward to get the best sound.

3. Inflate and deflate the cuff

If you are using a manual monitor:

Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.
Close the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.
Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure. At this point, you should not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
Keeping your eyes on the gauge, slowly release the pressure in the cuff by opening the airflow valve counterclockwise. The gauge should fall only 2 to 3 points with each heartbeat. (You may need to practice turning the valve slowly.)
Listen carefully for the first pulse beat. As soon as you hear it, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your systolic pressure (the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats).
Continue to slowly deflate the cuff.
Listen carefully until the sound disappears. As soon as you can no longer hear your pulse, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your diastolic pressure (the blood pressure between heartbeats).
Allow the cuff to completely deflate.

Video how to check blood pressure (blood pressure measurement).