Blood Pressure - Intermountain Healthcare

Blood Pressure - Intermountain Healthcare
How to Check Your Blood Pressure
Your doctor may have asked you to check your blood pressure (BP) at home. Follow these steps to get
a correct measurement. You need a correct measurement to get the right treatment.
• Check your blood pressure in the early morning and in the evening.
–– In the morning, check before you eat, drink, or take any medicines.
• Put the cuff on your arm.
–– Remove clothes that get in the way of the cuff. Don’t roll up your sleeve in a way that’s tight
around your arm.
–– The cord should go toward your hand. Line it up with the middle of your forearm.
–– The Velcro should attach easily on the cuff. If it doesn’t reach, you may need a bigger cuff.
• Measure your blood pressure by following the steps below.
Wait 30 minutes if
you have just eaten
30 minutes
a lot, had a drink
with caffeine or
alcohol, used tobacco
products, or exercised.
Sit quietly for 5
minutes or more
before taking your 5 minutes
blood pressure.
Avoid talking while
your blood pressure is
being measured.
Use the restroom if
you need to. (Needing
to go can raise your BP.)
Rest both feet flat
on the floor with
your back supported.
Rest your arm at
heart level on a table
or the arm of a chair.
Start the monitor.
Press the button or
squeeze the ball to
measure your blood
Write down the time,
the measurement, and
your pulse.
Wait 2 minutes.
Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Your target blood pressure: /
What do my numbers mean?
How do I track my blood pressure?
Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The top
number is the pressure when your heart beats. It’s
called systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is
the pressure when the heart rests between beats. It’s
called diastolic blood pressure.
Your healthcare providers can give you a booklet or
card where you can track your BP like this:
6/25 9 AM
The table below shows what your numbers mean.
Top number
Bottom number
less than 130
less than 80
high blood
130 to 139
80 to 89
High blood
140 or higher
90 or higher
If your BP is 180/105 or higher AND you
have chest pain, shortness of breath or a
severe headache, get medical help fast.
Why do I need to check at home?
If you have high blood pressure, checking it at
home can be an important part of your treatment.
•• Home measurements can show how well your
lifestyle changes and medicines are working. Your
healthcare provider can use this information to
make small changes to your treatment plan.
•• Some people’s blood pressure is higher in a doctor’s
office. You need to know if it’s lower at home.
How often? How many times?
Your healthcare provider can tell you this. In general:
•• If you have been asked to check at home to
compare your readings to office readings, check
6 to 10 times over 2 weeks.
•• If there’s been a recent change to your blood
pressure medicine, check every day, morning
and night.
•• If your blood pressure is in control, check 1 to 2
times per month.
How do I choose a monitor to buy?
You can buy a home monitor in a drugstore,
supermarket pharmacy, or other large store. A good
one costs about $50. Ask your health insurance
provider if your policy covers the cost of a home
blood pressure monitor.
Here are some tips for choosing one:
•• Choose a monitor that inflates automatically If
possible. If you have a monitor with a “squeeze
ball,” have someone else squeeze the ball to inflate
the cuff.
•• Choose a monitor that also shows your pulse
(heartbeats per minute). Some blood pressure
medicines affect your pulse, so your doctor may ask
you to keep track of it. A normal pulse is 60 to 100
heartbeats per minute.
•• Choose a monitor with a cuff that wraps around
the upper arm. Avoid wrist cuffs. You get a more
correct measurement on your arm.
•• Be sure the arm cuff is the right size for your arm.
Ask your healthcare provider what size cuff you need.
•• Compare your blood pressure monitor to the
one used in your healthcare provider’s office.
To make sure you’re getting correct measurements,
have your healthcare provider compare your
monitor to theirs about every 6 months. Do this
right away if you drop it or if the readings
change suddenly.
Intermountain Healthcare complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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© 2013 - 2017 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice,
and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. More health information
is available at Patient and Provider Publications FS358 - 01/17 Also available in Spanish.
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