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 control.


Female Doctor Taking Blood Pressure of Male Patient

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 certain medications.


Blood Pressure Monitor

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 a week.
  • 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.


Older Woman Stretching

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.

Lifestyle Changes
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 found here.