If you check your blood pressure at home you will need to follow several steps to ensure a proper reading from your semi or automatic blood pressure monitor. Remember to follow the instruction booklet carefully from the manual or digital monitor you've bought. You can follow these steps to help you use know how to take your blood pressure.
Keep in mind that certain factors like stress, smoking, cold temperatures, exercise, caffeine, and certain drugs can temporarily cause your blood pressure to rise. Avoid these things if you are about to take your blood pressure reading. Also, taking your blood pressure reading at the same time each day can help you get a more accurate reading from your manual or automatic blood pressure monitor.
- Locate your pulse. Press your index and middle finger lightly on the inside the center of the bend of your elbow. You should be able to feel the pulse from the brachial artery over here. If you do not, place the head of the stethoscope from your manual monitor or the arm cuff of your digital monitor on the same area.
- Place the stethoscope in your ears, and tilt the earpiece slightly forward in needed to get optimal sound.
- Inflate and deflate the cuff.
If you are using a manual monitor:
a) Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.
b) Turn the screw clockwise to close the airflow valve.
c) Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb in your right hand.
d) Keep an eye on the gauge and keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads 30 mm Hg above your expected systolic pressure. Once you reach this point you should be able to hear your pulse in your stethoscope.
e) Watch the gauge and slowly release the pressure in the cuff by opening the airflow valve counter clockwise. You should be able to notice the gauge fall only 2 or 3 points per heartbeat.
f) Listen for the first pulse beat and as soon as you hear it, start reading the gauge. This reading is your systolic pressure reading.
g) Slowly deflate the cuff.
h) Listen for when the sound disappears. When you can no longer hear your pulse, check the reading on the gauge. This is your diastolic pressure reading.
i) Let the cuff deflate completely.