Tips for Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home

Get accurate BP readings with these tips from the American Heart Association.

Tips for Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home

If you have a home blood pressure (BP) monitor and measure your BP around your wrist—where handcuffs go—chances are good your numbers may not be accurate. That’s what researchers at the University of Tasmania found recently. Although there are many devices that measure BP in the fingertips and around the wrist, those researchers—and the American Heart Association (AHA)—recommend that you only use a brachial cuff around your upper arm (like the device in your doctor’s office) to get an accurate reading.

The AHA has a few other tips for home monitoring:

  • Don't smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your BP.
  • Sit with your back straight and supported (on a dining chair rather than a sofa) with feet flat on the floor; don’t cross your legs.
  • Take multiple readings; record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings, one minute apart.
  • Don’t take your measurements over clothing.

For complete info on how to monitor your blood pressure properly, go to www.heart.org. Then do whatever it takes—BP pills, eating salmon and nuts, jumping rope, stress management, alcohol and tobacco cessation—to manage your blood pressure and get your BP to 115/75. It will reduce your risk of a disabling stroke or heart attack by over 80 percent.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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