Personal Monitors Make It Easy

Checking your blood pressure at home doesn’t replace doctor visits.  But it’s helpful for your doctor to have information about both home and office measurements.

Blood-pressure monitor with an inflatable cuff that goes over the bicep tend to be more accurate than those that go over the wrist or finger.  Before buying, measure around your upper arm and make sure that measurement is within the range of the cuff.

Blood pressure varies throughout the day.  The best times to check are after you wake up or before bedtime.  Caffeine, exercise, alcohol, stress and time of day can affect blood pressure.  Try to measure at the same time every day.

To check your blood pressure, sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground and back straight.  Sit for about five minutes before measuring.  Rest your arm on a table around the level of your heart.  Follow all instructions.  Stay still and don’t talk.  It can be helpful to repeat the reading one to two minutes later and use the average of the two readings.

One thing to change: Sometimes people check their blood pressure but don’t keep a log.  Record your blood pressure, date and time when you monitor and bring the log to your doctor appointments.  It may also be helpful to bring your monitor to your next appointment to verify your technique and results with your doctor’s measurement.

Source:  Journal of the American Medical Association