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Discharge Instructions: Taking Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood as it moves from the heart through the blood vessels. You can take your own blood pressure reading using a digital monitor. Take readings as often as your health care provider instructs. Take your readings each time in the same way, using the same arm. Here are guidelines for taking your blood pressure.

1. Relax

  • Man sitting in chair.Wait at least a half hour after smoking, eating, or exercising. Do not drink coffee, tea, soda, or other caffeinated beverages before checking your blood pressure. 

  • Sit comfortably at a table. Place the monitor near you.

  • Rest for a few minutes before you begin.

2. Wrap the Cuff

  • Arm resting on table while hand secures blood pressure cuff on upper arm.Place your arm on the table, palm up. Put your arm in a position that is level with your heart. Wrap the cuff around your upper arm, just above your elbow. It’s best to wrap the cuff on bare skin, not over clothing.

  • Make sure your cuff fits. If it doesn’t wrap around your upper arm, order a larger cuff. A cuff that is too large or too small can result in an inaccurate blood pressure reading.

3. Inflate the Cuff

  • Arm resting on table with blood pressure cuff on upper arm. Other hand is pushing start button on blood pressure machine.Pump the cuff until the scale reads 200. If you have a self-inflating cuff, push the button that starts the pump.

  • The cuff will tighten, then loosen.

  • The numbers will change. When they stop changing, your blood pressure reading will appear.

  • If you get a reading that is too high or too low for you, relax for a few minutes. Then do the test again.

Hand writing in blood pressure log.

4. Write Down the Results

  • Write down your blood pressure numbers. Mark the date and time. Keep your results in one place, such as a notebook.

  • Remove the cuff from your arm. Turn off the machine.





Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2/18/2014
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.