How to Measure, Monitor, and Maintain Your High Blood Pressure
Knowing and controlling your blood pressure doesn’t have to be complicated.
That’s why we created a three-step process that’s easy to remember. Whether or
not you have high blood pressure, you can measure your blood
pressure, monitor for changes, and maintain
Knowing your numbers should be your first step. The good news is you
can measure your blood pressure almost anywhere – at a doctor’s office,
in a pharmacy, or in the comfort of your home.
- Doctor’s Office –
Have your blood pressure checked during your regular healthcare visits.
Ask your health care professional to take your blood pressure reading,
discuss what it may mean for you, and write down the numbers so you can
monitor changes over time.
- Pharmacy – Many
pharmacies offer the use of a machine that will measure blood pressure
for you. Read the machine directions carefully, and ask the pharmacist
if you have any questions. You can discuss your results with the
pharmacist just as you would with your doctor. Record your blood
pressure numbers and keep track of future changes.
- Home – Manual and
electronic blood pressure cuffs are available for purchase in stores or
online for measuring blood pressure at home. Read and carefully follow
the instructions provided with the blood pressure cuff. Some devices
will automatically store blood pressure readings (numbers) for you. If
your device does not store your numbers, write them down to compare
later with your future readings and discuss with your doctor.
To ensure an accurate reading when you take your blood pressure,
follow these tips:
- Do not talk or eat
during the check.
- Avoid caffeine and
smoking 30 minutes before blood pressure reading.
- Sit with your back
supported and with both feet flat on the floor.
- Wear a
short-sleeved top or roll up your sleeve so the blood pressure cuff fits
on your bare arm.
- Remember that certain factors may temporarily affect your blood
pressure reading, including stress, cold temperatures, exercise, and
Even if you do not have high blood pressure, you should check your
blood pressure on a regular basis and record the numbers in a safe place
so you can refer to them in the future. Compare your current numbers
with past numbers so you can know if your blood pressure levels are
changing. This information is extremely important.
How often should you monitor your blood pressure? While there’s no
harm in measuring more often, we recommend:
- If you have high
blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure numbers at least a few times
- If you’re under
treatment for high blood pressure, measure daily.
- For most adults
without high blood pressure, measure at least once a year.
For more information about what your blood pressure numbers mean and
the ranges for normal, prehypertension, and high blood pressure, visit
the What Is High Blood Pressure? page.
If you already have high blood pressure (or are at risk), your doctor
may prescribe medications in addition to important lifestyle changes
such as regular physical activity or dietary changes to help you get
your blood pressure under control.
Work with your healthcare provider to determine the lifestyle changes
that are best for you. Small changes may include regular physical
activity, increasing the amount of potassium in your diet, or limiting
the use of tobacco, alcohol, and salt.
Nearly 70% of American adults with high blood pressure use
medications to treat the condition. Take all medications exactly as your
doctor and pharmacist tell you to take them. Before stopping any
medication, always talk with your doctor first.
Tools and resources to help manage your high blood pressure can be