How to Use a Blood Pressure Monitor Correctly
Using an automatic blood pressure monitor is easy. Insert your arm into the cuff, tighten it and push a button. You are done. Since your blood pressure can change minute by minute, follow the following steps to take readings for tracking your blood pressure.
Take a reading at least 3 times daily - after you wake up, during mid-day, and before bedtime. Preferably take some measurements while sleeping. For many people, the blood pressure is normally high in the morning and falls by 10-20% while sleeping.
To take a measurement while sleeping, you would need someone else to do it for you or an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that would take a reading every 15-60 minutes automatically.
Take the following precautions while using a blood pressure monitor.
- Take a measurement when you are calm and relaxed. Sit down and relax for 4-5 minutes prior to measurement.
- Make sure the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
- Use the proper size cuff. The bladder width inside the cuff should be about 40% of the arm's circumference and the bladder should longer enough to cover 80% of the arm.
- Position the center of the bladder over the brachial artery and secure the cuff snugly around the bare upper arm and about one inch above the antecubital (bend of the elbow).
- Do not roll the sleeve so it forms a tight tourniquet around the upper arm.
- If possible, place your arm on a table (or some support), turn your palm you and the hose connected to the cuff should be on top of the arm (see picture to the right).
- Try to measure your blood pressure at the same time daily and with the same arm and posture. This is required if you want consistent readings for comparison.
- The location of the cuff relative to your arm would affect results. Use the same position for all your readings.
- Do not move or talk during measurement. Relax all your muscle.
- Wait 3-5 minutes before taking another measurement. Blood pressure monitor works by restricting blood flow into your arm and listens for signs as blood starts flowing again. It would take a few minutes for your arm to recover.
- Cellular phone or other electronic devices may interfere with the result if they are placed close to the monitor.