Whether your doctor has required you to monitor your blood pressure at home, or you just want to keep a tab on your blood pressure yourself, having a medical device that allows you to do this is a life-changing event when it comes to your overall health.

As a matter of fact, individuals who keep a close eye on their blood pressure at home are more likely to reach their aim more quickly than individuals who do not.

Measuring blood pressure at home is easier than you think. It improves the standard of care for individuals who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.

Also, if you are one of those scaredy-cats whose blood pressure rises whenever they step into a doctor’s clinic—a condition called white-coat hypertension—then you may want to consider investing in a blood pressure monitor for home monitoring to get your real blood pressure.

How a Blood Pressure Monitor Works

This medical device consists of an inflatable arm cuff that should level with your heart when placed around your arm. How to operate it depends on the type of monitor you have. An aneroid blood pressure monitor works by squeezing the inflation bulb. A digital monitor works by pressing a button, and the battery-operated air pump will start inflating the cuff. 

As the cuff inflates, it will start to feel tighter around your arm in order to cut off the blood flow until the valve opens to deflate the cuff.

When the cuff reaches the systolic pressure, your blood starts to flow around the artery. This process will create a vibration detectable by the meter. In an aneroid blood pressure monitor, you will need a stethoscope to detect the blood sounds.

As it continues to deflate, the cuff will reach your diastolic pressure, and the meter will record the pressure when the vibration stops.

The monitor will show two pressures—systolic and diastolic. Under a normal reading, systolic pressure should not be higher than 120, and diastolic should be 80 or less. For instance, your blood pressure reading might be 120 over 80.

How Do You Measure Blood Pressure at Home?

When measuring blood pressure at home, make sure your device is in good working condition. If unsure, you can bring your device to your health care provider and have it checked to see if you have the same reading as your physician’s device.

There are things to keep in mind when taking blood pressure readings:

Relax and be still

At least 30 minutes prior to measuring your blood pressure, it is advisable not to drink coffee or any caffeinated beverages. Avoid smoking too. Make sure you empty your bladder and give yourself at least 5 minutes of rest.

Sit properly

In order to position your arm properly, you have to sit on a chair with your back straight and supported. Place your feet flat on the floor rather than crossed. Place your arm on a flat surface such as a table; the upper arm should be at heart level. 

Measure at the same time daily

Whether you take your blood pressure readings in the morning or evening, do it at the same time every day, especially if you are changing your treatment plan.

Repeat readings at least twice and record the results

For maximum accuracy, it’s best to take your readings twice within a one-minute interval. Don’t forget to record your readings and take them with you to your next appointment. This helps your doctor diagnose properly if there’s any abnormality in the readings.

Position the cuff properly

Don’t place the arm cuff over your clothing. According to studies, placing it over clothing will affect the systolic blood pressure reading. The proper way is to put the arm cuff on bare skin.

What if the blood pressure reading is high?

Although a single high reading shouldn’t be an immediate cause for heebie-jeebies, taking your blood pressure again and consulting your healthcare provider for peace of mind is the best course of action.

In the case when your blood pressure reading abruptly rises to 180/120, wait calmly for at least 5 minutes and test again. If it still shows the same result, contact your physician right away. You might be experiencing a condition called hypertensive crisis.

However, if the reading is higher than 180/120 and you think you are experiencing chest pain, blurred vision, numbness, shortness of breath, and slurred speech, do not wait to get another blood pressure reading—call 911 immediately.


Monitoring your blood pressure at home should be a part of your daily routine, especially if you are suffering from or at risk of hypertension. Make sure to record every blood pressure reading and show them to your physician on your next visit. Taking preventive measures at home ensures a healthier, happier, and longer life.