Video: How to measure your blood pressure at home
Watch our short film on how to measure blood pressure at home, and get tips on choosing a blood pressure monitor.
Choosing a home blood pressure monitor
If you decide to measure your blood pressure at home, you will need to get a home blood pressure monitor. There is a wide range of home blood pressure monitors available, but it is important to be sure that the blood pressure monitor you choose is accurate and the right one for you.
If your doctor asks you to measure your blood pressure at home or to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, in order to diagnose hypertension, they should provide a monitor that you can borrow.
If you are buying a home blood pressure monitor, choose one that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, not your wrist or finger. The cheapest ones start from £10.
Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath. Most home blood pressure monitors will come with a medium-sized cuff. If your upper arm is particularly larger or smaller than average, you may need to buy a different cuff separately.
If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK. To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British Hypertension Society. This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives results that you and your doctor can trust.
It will need to be regularly serviced and calibrated to make sure it is accurate – generally, at least once every two years. This usually involves sending it back to the manufacturer, who will probably charge a fee for this.
See a list of monitors validated by the British Hypertension society.
Some monitors will have a memory to store your readings. These may cost more than more basic versions, but recording your measurements on a pen and paper will work just as well.
Keeping your monitor accurate
Your home blood pressure monitor will need to be regularly serviced and calibrated to make sure it is accurate – generally, at least once every two years. This usually involves sending it back to the manufacturer, who will probably charge a fee for this.