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How to Take A Blood Pressure Reading

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure (BP) is the force of blood pushing on the walls of your arteries. Your BP results are written as 2 numbers. The first, or top, number is called systolic BP. This is the pressure caused by your heart pushing blood out to your body. The second, or bottom, number is called diastolic BP. This is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills back up with blood. Ask your healthcare provider what your BP should be. For most people, a good BP goal is less than 120/80.

Blood Pressure Readings

Why do I need to take BP readings?

You may not have any signs or symptoms of high BP. You may need to take BP readings regularly to know how often your BP is high. High BP increases your risk for a stroke, heart attack, or kidney disease. You may need to take medicine to keep your BP at a normal level. Write down and keep a log of your BP readings. Your healthcare provider can use the results to see if your BP medicines are working.

How often should I take my BP readings?

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take your BP readings 2 times a day. Take the readings at the same times each day, such as the morning and evening.

How do I take BP readings?

You can take BP readings at home with a digital BP monitor. Read the instructions that came with your BP monitor. The monitor comes with an adjustable cuff. Ask your healthcare provider if your cuff is the correct size.

What else do I need to know?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.