It is important to make sure that the measurements taken with your home blood pressure monitor are accurate so that your healthcare provider can have a good overview of your blood pressure.
Home measurement of blood pressure can help your doctor diagnose high blood pressure properly. Some people have higher blood pressure when they visit the doctor. However, while these people go about their daily business, their blood pressure is normal. Often measuring your blood pressure can help you determine if you have high blood pressure.
On the other hand, other people have a normal blood pressure during their medical consultation, whereas it increases in other circumstances. This phenomenon is known as masked hypertension. If you have a high risk of heart disease or stroke, it is important to determine if you have masked hypertension. In this case, your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home.
The accuracy of the readings also depends on how well you are preparing to take your blood pressure. Follow the steps below to get the most accurate reading possible:
- Refrain from smoking or drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, cola) 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Do not measure your blood pressure when you are upset or suffering.
- If necessary, go to the bathroom before reading.
- Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, your back against the back of a chair, or on a firm surface for at least five minutes before and during the measurement.
- Use the same arm each time. Remove bulky or tight clothing from your arm.
- Wrap the blood pressure cuff around the top of your bare arm by adjusting it (you must be able to enter two fingers between the blood pressure cuff and your arm). The cuff edge should be three inches above your elbow.
- Place your arm on a table or firm surface. The armband should be at the height of your heart.
- Do not talk or watch TV during the measurement.
- Take a measurement of your blood pressure and write it down
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