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Tips for Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

How to take your blood pressure at home

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “It sure would make it easier to take my own blood pressure, but will I be able to do it?” Give me something technical to do, and either it doesn’t get done, or it might take several days to complete.

For the longest time, when I went to the doctor’s office and the nurse took my blood pressure, I had no idea how she knew when to stop squeezing that little bulb, or even what a good blood pressure reading was!
Home blood pressure monitoringNowadays, blood pressure monitor companies have gotten smart and made it super easy to keep track of your own blood pressure. 
No more “white coat syndrome” at the doctor where your blood pressure goes up just by being there.
If your blood pressure goes up at the doctor's office, you can explain to the nurse or doctor that you've been taking your blood pressure at home, and it is lower than at his/her office... that is if it actually is that way! 
If you know it will go up at the doctor's office, take your blood pressure monitor with you to show the nurse or doctor what your pressure usually is.
The instructions on the blood pressure monitor that I have (the Omron HEM 780) make it very easy to use the machine. Mine is an older model, bought in 2009 (I'm updating this in July 2023), and is no longer available. As a recommendation for Omron though... it still works perfectly! 
  • To put the blood pressure cuff on, place your thumb on the little plastic piece that is perfect for your thumb. 
  • The cuff will be naturally round, so push the cuff open with the arm you’re using for the blood pressure reading, and then just maneuver the heavy blue line (also where the tube is attached) to the inside of your arm.
  • Pull the cuff straight out to make it easier to get a tight enough fit, then wrap it around to attach to the Velcro. 
  • Attach the tube to the monitor, choose which person is doing the blood pressure reading,  (either A or B, it has room to record two separate people), then hit start.
If you have the settings set to do an average of three readings, it will wait a few seconds after the first and second reading before giving the average reading after the third go-round.
You actually have a choice of waiting either 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds or 120 seconds between the readings. 
The other choice is to just let the monitor do one pump-up for one reading.
Benefits of using a home blood pressure monitor

Troubleshooting Your Blood Pressure Monitor

If for some reason you have an issue while trying to get your blood pressure, the monitor might deflate after a few seconds and give you an “E” on the screen.
When that happens... and it probably will... Just unfasten the Velcro and pull the cuff straight out again to make it a little tighter.
It might get you frustrated, and let’s face it, that’s the LAST thing you need if you have blood pressure issues, right? 
When that has happened to me, it has never NOT worked after making the cuff just a bit tighter.
And there you have it! Easy, peasy!
You can even take your monitor in to show your doctor since sometimes the readings at the doctor's can be higher just from having to be out and about.