Self Blood Pressure Monitoring

Key Points

Why Monitor Blood Pressure At Home?

  • To see how well your treatment is working, and how you respond to medications
  • To see what your readings are like away from the clinic or surgery
  • To be sure that you have high blood pressure

Buying a Monitor

Buy a recommended monitor.  Please see the British Hypertension Society website, or your local pharmacy, for inexpensive and widely available home BP monitors which are known to be accurate.

Choose a machine that measures from the top of the arm rather than the wrist or finger.

Monitors may be bought with a standard adult, or a large adult cuff.

Make sure that the monitor you choose has been “clinically validated” for accuracy.  This means it has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives accurate results.

Before you decide on which monitor to purchase, ask a family member or friend to measure the circumference of your upper arm.  Use a tape measure to measure the circumference in the mid portion of the upper arm.

20 – 26cm arm circumference                               Small cuff needed

28 – 33cm arm circumference                               Standard cuff needed

34 – 50cm arm circumference                               Large cuff needed

Borrowing a Monitor

Please contact Dorothy Turnbull (nurse administrator) to borrow a home monitor from us.

When to Do Your Blood Pressure Readings

  • Take readings over seven days when you are following your normal routine (not just when you are on holiday or off work).
  • Take a pair of readings in the morning, and a pair in the evening.

Two morning readings before you take any pills
Wake up – put on cuff – 3 minutes rest – Take 1st reading – 1 minute rest – Take 2nd reading.

Two evening readings -when you get home from work and when you go to bed
Put on cuff – 3 minutes rest – Take 1st reading – 1 minute rest – Take 2nd reading.

  • The measurements should not be concentrated during the evening, and do need to include measurements in the morning.
  • Do not include the readings from the first day, these can be discarded.

How to Do Your Blood Pressure Readings

  • Wear loose fitting clothing – roll up your sleeve.
  • Makes sure you do not need to use the toilet, and that you have not just eaten a big meal as this can cause your blood pressure to rise for a short time.
  • Use the same arm for readings, preferably the same arm on which your measurements are taken at your clinic (the arm with the highest reading).
  • Find the positioning marker on the lower edge of the cuff.
  • Position the correct size cuff snugly on the arm with the positioning marker over the artery – the cuff should be roughly at the level of your heart.
  • Sit in a chair with legs uncrossed and back supported.
  • Rest the arm so it is supported by a table, or desk.
  • Sit quietly for three minutes before taking each reading, and do not talk while doing the reading.
  • Record the blood pressure value on paper or in the memory of the machine or you can click on the link below to download a copy of our Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Chart  – do not change or omit any readings.
  • Do the four readings (above) a day until you have twenty eight readings then stop.
  • Please hand the readings in to the surgery every 6 months.  If possible, please calculate the average reading by omitting the first four readings and then taking the average of the remaining twenty-four readings.

Home Monitoring Blood Pressure Chart.pdf

When Should I Do Another Set Of Readings?

  • You should not do readings every day indefinitely.
  • A set of readings should be done after a period of weeks to months, as guided by your doctor or nurse – typically every six months, depending on your condition.
  • After a change of medication, or starting a drug treatment, as guided by your doctor or nurse.

What Should My Self Measured Or “Home” Blood Pressure Be?

  • Remember, your blood pressure varies considerably, so do not be worried by varying high and low readings – the important thing is your average blood pressure.
  • If you have three consecutive readings with the higher (systolic) figure being 200 or more, please seek medical attention.
  • Please do not change your pills accordingly to individual blood pressure readings – always consult your doctor before making any changes.
  • We currently accept an average value of around 135/85 as acceptable.

When Should I See The Doctor Or Healthcare Assistant?

  • See the healthcare assistant approximately once a year, if required for blood tests.
  • Send in a completed self monitoring form to your GP once a year (between July and March.)  Your GP will view this and advise whether you need to be seen to change your medication or whether you should continue to monitor annually at home.
  • Please phone a week later to confirm that your blood pressure is satisfactory (between 1430 and 1700 are the best times to phone for results).
  • You no longer need to see your GP or nurse regularly for your blood pressure to be monitored, for the majority of people this is better monitored at home.