Tips for Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

You may have heard the phrase “Know Your Numbers”. Knowing the levels of your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are some key ways to better manage your heath. There aren’t many numbers you can check from the comfort of your home. But you can with blood pressure!

Why should a person think about checking their blood pressure at home? The benefits can include:

  • Help to catch changes in your blood pressure sooner.
  • Help track the progress of your treatment.
  • Encourage better control.
  • Cut your health care costs.
  • Check if your blood pressure reading is different from the medical office reading.

Learn more about benefits here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20047889

As you prepare to check your blood pressure at home, first visit with your medical provider. They can let you know what blood pressure readings to report. Also, you’ll discuss the goal they want for you. The clinic staff will tell you which readings require urgent attention.

Next, follow these tips for getting a more accurate blood pressure reading at home:

  • Within 30 minutes before taking a reading, don’t smoke, drink anything with caffeine, or exercise. Also take a moment to empty your bladder.
  • Remove any clothing over the arm that will be used to measure blood pressure.
  • Sit still for at least five minutes before starting your machine. Don’t talk or use the phone.
  • Sit with your back straight and supported – use a dining chair, instead of a couch.
  • Place your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs.
  • Support your arm on a flat surface. The middle of the blood pressure cuff should be placed on the upper arm at heart level.
  • Try to measure at the same time every day. Record your results. Visit with your medical provider about how often to take your blood pressure and how often to share your readings.

Multiple readings over a period of time give a more accurate understanding of your blood pressure. This then helps you and your medical provider know what you need in order to get to or maintain a healthy blood pressure.

High blood pressure puts people at risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney trouble, loss of vision, and heart failure. Checking blood pressure at home is one simple way to help prevent long term health problems.

For more information, including how to choose a reliable monitor, visit the American Heart Association website at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings/monitoring-your-blood-pressure-at-home

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