Your blood pressure is an indicator of how much work your body is doing to pump the blood that feeds your organs. A person can have blood pressure that runs from low, called hypotension, to normal, to high, which is called hypertension. Having either low or high blood pressure can lead to different medical conditions such as heart disease or diminished brain function. By monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis and managing it, you may be able to keep your levels in check and prevent other conditions or death.
Preparing to Test
1. Purchase a blood pressure monitor. If you are checking your blood pressure at home, purchase an automatic cuff-style monitor. This can help give you the most accurate readings of your pressure in addition to being more simple to use than aneroid sphygmomanometers, which is the technical name of hand-employed blood pressure monitors.
2. Set up to check your blood pressure. There are many factors that can affect your blood pressure reading. Preparing yourself for your monitoring test can give the most accurate readings.
3. Position yourself properly. Before and during the test, it’s important that you position your body and arm properly. Sitting quietly and in a supported, upright position can help you get the most accurate reading.
Running the Test and Recording Results
1. Measure at the same time every day. Run the blood pressure monitoring test(s) at the exact same time every day. This can give you the most accurate reading and help you identify potential problems.
2. Inflate the cuff. Once you’ve made the necessary preparations and sat quietly for a while, you can turn on the machine to begin testing. You may need to hit a specific button to inflate the cuff, which you should do as calmly as possible to minimize the risk of elevating your pressure.
3. Remain calm. Once you inflate the cuff, the test should begin. It’s important that you remain as still and calm as possible. This can minimize the risk of getting an inaccurate reading.
4. Remove the cuff. Some digital monitors will automatically deflate the cuff when they're finished testing, while others may require you to press a button. Once the testing is complete and the air is deflated from the cuff, remove your arm.
5. Record your results. It’s important to accurately record your test results as soon as you are able after the monitoring. Record all relevant data in a notebook, on a computer, or see if your device will automatically record your results. These results can help identify trends in your pressure and help your doctor correctly diagnose any issues.
6. Take additional readings. In order to get the most accurate readings and picture of your blood pressure, take one or two additional readings after the first test. Make sure to record the results of these tests as well.
7. Consult your doctor. If you notice elevated or low blood pressure over a couple of readings, contact your doctor as soon as possible. This can help minimize the risk of developing conditions that can harm your heart and brain.