How Often Should I Take My Blood Pressure At Home?
Ever wondered about blood pressure between doctor’s visits? How often should people be checking blood pressure? And what are the best practices for monitoring blood pressure at home? Consider these tips for home blood pressure monitoring.
Why do I need to take my blood pressure?
A healthcare provider may recommend home monitoring for people with high blood pressure. These consistent blood pressure readings can give a healthcare provider more information about whether blood pressure treatment is working. For example, some people have naturally higher blood pressure in the doctor’s office, simply because of stress or anxiousness. Consistent, at-home readings can be a reliable indicator of usual blood pressure numbers.
When should I take my blood pressure?
Although there’s no set rule about taking a blood pressure reading in the morning or evening, consistency is key. Take blood pressure around the same time each day. For best results, healthcare providers typically recommend taking readings twice a day at consistent times.
Does it matter what I eat or drink?
Caffeinated beverages, cigarettes, and exercise can all affect a blood pressure reading. For the most accurate results possible, try to sit still and avoid consuming caffeine for at least 30 minutes before taking the reading.
How to sit
Proper posture also affects the blood pressure reading. Sit with feet flat on the floor and the back straight. Use a dining chair or other hard-backed seat, as opposed to a couch or armchair. Avoid crossing the legs and make sure arms are supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at chest level.
How many readings do I need?
Healthcare providers recommend taking blood pressure 2-3 times at each reading. Record the time and the blood pressure of each reading in a printable tracker or app. A single high blood pressure reading is not cause for alarm, but repeat high readings could be an emergency.
What to do when you get a high reading
If the reading is above 180/120mmHg a few times in a row, call a healthcare provider immediately. Blood pressure this high could be a sign of an emergency called a hypertensive crisis. If the reading is accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 right away. For more information about home blood pressure monitoring, speak with a healthcare provider.