How to monitor your blood pressure at home
Home blood pressure monitoring can help guide your treatment by showing whether your medicines are working or if you need to take a different approach.
Anyone who has high blood pressure, or is at risk for it, can benefit from home blood pressure monitoring, especially women with diabetes or kidney disease. You might also want to consider taking your blood pressure at home if your levels tend to fluctuate. Getting an accurate accounting of the variations will help your doctor better treat your blood pressure.
Some conditions can make it harder to take your own blood pressure—particularly if you have an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. If this is uncontrolled, you may not be able to get an accurate reading with a home blood pressure monitor. Even if your arrhythmia is controlled, you may need to take your blood pressure several times in a row for accuracy.
If you're interested in home blood pressure monitoring, here's how to get started.
Step 1: Buy a blood pressure monitor
* When shopping for a blood pressure monitor, look for these features:
* Buy a monitor that goes around your upper arm.
* Choose a monitor that meets standards for your age and health conditions according to an organization.
* Make sure the cuff fits your arm. If it's too large or too small, the reading won't be accurate.
Step 2: See your doctor
Next, make an appointment with your doctor and bring the monitor with you. A nurse or assistant will make sure it is properly calibrated and will teach you how to use it correctly. Return to your doctor's office with your monitor at least once a year for rechecks.
Step 3: Determine when to take your blood pressure
Taking two to three blood pressure readings in the morning and two to three readings at night, a few times a week. Don't go overboard and take your blood pressure constantly.