How to measure your blood pressure at home
Updated: May 2020
Taking your blood pressure readings is easy – you just need to follow a few simple steps.
What is blood pressure?
Your heart pumps blood around your body. Blood pressure is the force placed on the walls of your arteries. If this force is too high, it puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels.
A blood pressure monitor measures two pressures: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is the higher number, it’s a measure of when your heart beats and pushes blood through the arteries. And diastolic pressure is measured when your heart is resting and filling with blood. So, for example, your blood pressure might be 120 over 80.
How does a blood pressure monitor work?
A blood pressure monitor consists of an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your arm, roughly level with your heart, and a monitoring device that measures the cuff’s pressure.
Most blood pressure monitors certified for home-use are usually digital and the whole measurement process is automatic after you’ve placed the cuff around your arm or wrist. The cuff then inflates until it fits tightly around your arm, cutting off your blood flow, and then the valve opens to deflate it. As the cuff reaches your systolic pressure, blood begins to flow around your artery. This creates a vibration that is detected by the meter, which records your systolic pressure.
As the cuff continues to deflate, it reaches your diastolic pressure, and the vibration stops. The meter senses this and records the pressure again.
How to take blood pressure readings at home?
Taking readings at home is extremely easy and convenient. But there are a few things to remember to make sure your readings are accurate every time:
- Relax and steer clear of caffeine and exercise for thirty minutes beforehand, and rest for a few minutes.
- Sit comfortably upright with your feet flat on the floor and with your back supported.
- Position your arm correctly. Rest it on a flat surface, with your upper arm level with your heart.
- Position the cuff correctly, with the bottom edge just above your elbow.
- Do not talk during the measurement process.
The instruction manual of your device will also provide you with clear instructions.
When to check blood pressure?
When using your home blood pressure monitor, as a rule, you should take it at the same time of day – so you’re comparing like with like.
Take a few readings each time, a couple of minutes apart, and calculate the average to make the figures more representative. And if your blood pressure monitor doesn’t store your readings for you, write it down in a blood pressure diary or download an app so you get an idea of your long-term trends.
Use for example, the easy to use My Journal feature on the OMRON Connect app to make your notes and register your blood pressure readings all in one convenient app. You can easily view your long-term health trends and easily share your electronic results remotely with your GP, if needed.