It is important that you take your blood pressure properly in order to have the most accurate readings.

Taking your blood pressure at home can assist your health-care team in monitoring your blood pressure accurately. Follow these steps to take control of monitoring your blood pressure and your health.

How can I monitor my own blood pressure at home?

  • Automatic blood pressure monitors are available for your use at home.
  • Remember to consult with your health-care team prior to and after purchasing a blood pressure monitor. They can help you choose the monitor that is right for you, and help you to use it properly.
  • Bring your home monitor to your doctor to have it checked yearly to make sure it is still accurate.

How should I prepare to have my blood pressure checked?

  • Do not smoke and/or drink caffeine for 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure as these may temporarily raise your blood pressure.
  • Wait at least two hours after a big meal.
  • Wait 30 minutes after exercising.
  • Do not take blood pressure if you are upset, stressed, anxious or in pain.
  • Make sure you empty your bladder.
  • Measure blood pressure on bare arm, using the same arm each time. Ensure that the cuff is not placed over clothing. Do not wear tight clothing. For your blood pressure reading to be accurate, it is important that you have the proper cuff size. Your health-care team can help you choose the right cuff size for your arm.

Measuring blood pressure correctly

  1. Remain seated for at least five minutes before taking blood pressure.
  2. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Your back and arm should be supported. Your arm should be at heart level. Do not cross your legs.
  3. Measure blood pressure in the morning before taking medications and eating, and in the evening before going to bed, bathing or taking medications.
  4. Do not talk or watch television during measurement.
  5. Follow the directions that come with the monitor.
  6. Take two blood pressure readings. Print the blood pressure log and record your results, which follows with the date and time, and bring this to your health-care provider.

For more information, visit Hypertension Canada.

References: Canadian Hypertension Society; Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada