To keep the body in good health is a duty. —Buddha
Blood pressure should be checked every 2 years. If your blood pressure is above normal then it should be checked more often, even every week for people with the highest blood pressure readings (>180/110).1
Here are 3 ways to check your blood pressure:
1. See a Doctor
Seeing a doctor is a good option because doctors know how to accurately take a blood pressure reading. All you need to do is schedule the appointment.
2. Use a Monitor at Home
If a doctor is unavailable or you want to check your blood pressure more frequently then you can use a blood pressure monitor at home. Follow these steps carefully to avoid errors in your blood pressure reading:
- Recommended Device
Use a device recommended by the dabl Educational Trust
- Validated Device
your device by taking it to your doctor about once per year to verify that its readings are accurate and repeatable.
- Twice Daily
Measure twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. In the morning, try to allow some time after waking but measure before eating or doing exercise.
- 30 Minutes Beforehand: No Food or Drink
Avoid food, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement
- 5 Minutes Beforehand: Sit Quietly
Sit calmly for 5 minutes beforehand without crossing your legs or ankles. Don’t think about anything stressful.
- Arm Position
Always use the same arm, and position it correctly so that it is resting on a table or pillow at the same height as your heart.
- Bare Skin
Place the cuff over bare skin, not clothing
- 3 Readings 3 Minutes Apart
Take two or three readings to make sure they are accurate, and wait for one to three minutes between readings.
- Record the Reading
Some monitors automatically record the reading so you can show it to your doctor later. If yours doesn’t do this then you can just make a note in a journal on paper or your phone.
Mayo Clinic also has a good guide for using a monitor at home.
3. Use a Local Pharmacy
Some pharmacies offer blood pressure readings on site. For example, Walgreens let you schedule an appointment ahead of time to have your blood pressure checked at one of their stores.
- See a doctor to have your blood pressure checked
- You can use a monitor at home for more frequent checks, but make sure you have a recommended device and that you follow the right steps for an accurate reading
- Some local pharmacies can take your blood pressure for you too