How can I check my blood pressure?

Who can check my blood pressure?Blood Pressure Measuring

Many people have their blood pressure checked at a doctor’s office. A pharmacist at your local drug store or pharmacy can also check your blood pressure.

Blood pressure checks should not cause bruising or severe pain. A correct-sized cuff will be wrapped around your upper arm. Air will be pumped into the cuff, it will squeeze your arm tightly, and then the air will be slowly let out.

Sometimes your blood pressure will be checked with an automatic blood pressure machine. Other times, the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist will listen to your heartbeat and watch the monitor to measure your blood pressure manually. 

 

Home blood pressure monitoring

Your doctor or nurse may ask you to purchase a home blood pressure monitor.  This will allow you to check your blood pressure at home, at work, and/or during stressful times. Your healthcare team will let you know how often to check your blood pressure. Sometimes a person’s blood pressure may be high in the clinic, but normal outside of clinic. Checking your blood pressure outside the clinic will help your doctor and nurse learn about your blood pressure during your regular activities.

See our resources page to learn how to take your own blood pressure and to download a blood pressure log to record your blood pressures. (This file will open in PDF format. You can download a free PDF reader here.)

 

24-hour blood pressure monitoring

Your doctor may also ask you to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. This is a test that can give more accurate blood pressure readings.

Your clinic will give you a special blood pressure machine that measures your blood pressures every 20 to 30 minutes over 24 hours. Sometimes this is needed if your blood pressure is high in clinic but may be lower when you are not at the doctor’s office (called “white coat high blood pressure” or “white coat hypertension”).

There is an additional cost to borrow this special blood pressure monitor, and it is not always covered by insurance.