Blood pressure can be measured at a doctor’s or nurse’s office, at home, and on a daily basis. Blood pressure can also be measured yourself at many health care centers and pharmacies. Some libraries can borrow a blood pressure monitor at home. See also measurement events organized by cardiac circles and associations.
Home measurement is a reliable way to determine your blood pressure if the meter, cuff and measurement technique are working properly.
Gauge and cuff selection
For arm blood pressure measurement, an upper arm monitor is recommended. A wrist gauge is only recommended if the correct size cuff is not available for your upper arm. The meter selected shall be the one approved by an independent test, the condition of which shall be checked every three years or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. When purchasing the meter, it is a good idea to make sure that the device is serviced as needed. Learn more about a reliable meter. Keep the cuff rolled away from sunlight. Correctly sized cuff is an important part of reliable blood pressure measurement. A cuff that is too small gives a higher reading than the real one, while a large cuff gives a lower reading. Measure the circumference of your upper arm and choose the right size cuff based on it. You can also calculate your blood pressure levels.
- Upper arm: 26-32 cm → cuff width 12 cm
- Shoulder circumference: 33-41 cm → cuff 14-15 cm
- Upper arm: over 41 cm → cuff width 18 cm
When to measure blood pressure
Each adult should know their own blood pressure level. If there is a suspicion of elevated blood pressure during the one-time measurement, the actual blood pressure level is usually determined by home measurements, as a seven-day series. Blood pressure is measured in the morning and in the evening as a double measurement over a week. Dual measurement means measuring blood pressure twice in a row at intervals of 1 to 2 minutes. Blood pressure is the average of measurements taken over a week.
For monitoring blood pressure, a four-day series of measurements is sufficient. Morning measurements are usually taken before 6-9pm and evening measurements are taken from 6pm to 9pm.
Measure like this
Before the measurement of blood pressure to avoid half an hour of heavy physical exertion, smoking and alcohol, coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks. The measurement environment should be noisy, unhurried and warm.
Blood pressure can be measured from either arm. It is usually easier to measure the right hand from the left upper arm and the left hand from the right. Check the user manual of your meter for any difference between the right and left arm cuffs.
- When starting blood pressure monitoring, it is a good idea to check that there is no significant difference (above 10 mmHg) between the hands. If the difference is significant, the hand with the higher pressure is measured.
- Sit on a backrest, lean on the backrest and sit as relaxed as possible.
- Wrap the correct size cuff around the bare arm so that your finger fits between the cuff and the upper arm.