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Home > Health Library > Home Blood Pressure Test
Using a home blood pressure monitor lets you keep track of your blood pressure at home. Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers.
Someone with a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 has a blood pressure of 120/80, or "120 over 80." Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
Most people use an automatic monitor to measure their blood pressure at home. These are also called electronic or digital monitors. They have a microphone to detect blood pulsing in the artery. The cuff wraps around your upper arm. When you press the start button on the monitor, the cuff automatically inflates. Then the cuff automatically deflates, and the monitor takes your blood pressure.
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You may check your blood pressure at home to:
After measuring your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to test it again when you are home.footnote 1, footnote 2 This is because your blood pressure can change throughout the day. And sometimes blood pressure is high only because you are seeing a doctor. This is called white-coat hypertension. To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor needs to know if your blood pressure is high throughout the day.
So your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home to make sure that it actually is high.
Follow the instructions that came with your blood pressure monitor. They might be different from the following.
It is important that the blood pressure cuff is the right size for your arm: not too large and not too small. If you will be monitoring your blood pressure at home, ask your doctor or nurse to check to make sure the cuff fits correctly. The inflatable part of the cuff needs to be at least as long as the widest measurement around your upper arm.
You may feel some discomfort when the blood pressure cuff inflates, squeezing your arm.
There is no chance of problems from this test.
Your systolic and diastolic pressures are both important. Your doctor will give you a goal for your blood pressure. Your goal will be based on your health and your age.
It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. But if it stays up, you have high blood pressure. Your doctor may want to track the results of your blood pressure over time to see if it stays in a high or low range.
In general, the lower your blood pressure, the better. For example, a blood pressure reading of less than 90/60 is healthy as long as you feel okay.
Whelton PK, et al. (2017). Guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 13, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.11.006. Accessed November 20, 2017.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2015). Hypertension in adults: Screening and home monitoring: Final recommendation statement. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/high-blood-pressure-in-adults-screening. Accessed January 21 , 2016.
Current as of:
April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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