If you don’t already take and write down your blood pressure at home. It’s a good habit to get into because:
- We know high blood pressure can worsen kidney disease
- High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms
- Regular home monitoring gives you and your care team a more accurate picture of your blood pressure and risk over time; as many as many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading in the doctor’s office may have normal readings at home
You can buy a home blood pressure monitor to take your blood pressure at home. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist which home blood pressure monitor is best. Many pharmacies also have blood pressure stations available.
When taking your blood pressure at home, keep these tips in mind to get a good reading:
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff fits your arm properly. Otherwise, you may get an inaccurate reading. Wrap the cuff just above the inside bend of your elbow. See the instructions on the cuff.
- Don’t wear bulky clothing as it can interfere with your reading. It’s best to place the cuff over bare skin.
- Avoid exercising, drinking caffeinated beverages or eating a meal for at least 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Take your blood pressure using the same arm around the same time every day when it’s most convenient for you. If you choose the morning, measure your blood pressure before taking your medications. Some people like to take their blood pressure once in the morning and again in the evening. Ask your doctor’s office what’s best.
- Sit upright in a supportive chair (not a couch or armchair) with your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your arm relaxed, extended and supported at heart level. You can use a pillow to lift and rest your arm on, if needed.
- Sit quietly and avoid talking while taking your blood pressure reading.
- Take at least two blood pressure readings a minute or two apart. This will help make sure the readings you are getting are accurate.
- Write down your blood pressure readings using our printable log or whatever is an easy way for you to record your numbers and share them with your care team.
- The top, larger number (systolic) — the pressure or force of blood in the arteries when your heart is pumping outThe bottom, smaller number (diastolic pressure) – the pressure when your heart is resting between beats
- Review these measures at your next visit. Sometimes people’s blood pressure can be higher at a doctor’s office or clinic, so called “white coat hypertension.”
- How well your blood pressure is controlled can change over time, so don’t be surprised if your doctor make adjustments to your medications. For example, increasing the dose (amount) of your medicine or adding or changing any blood pressure medications you take. This is completely normal.