Home Blood Pressure Test: About This Test
What is it?
A home blood pressure test allows you to
keep track of your blood pressure at home.
When your blood pressure is high, it can
damage your blood vessels, heart, kidneys,
and brain. Controlling your blood pressure
can lower your risk for these complications.
Blood pressure readings include two
numbers, such as 130/80 mmHg (say "130
over 80"). The first number is the systolic
pressure. The second number is the diastolic
Blood pressure numbers are often lower at
home than at the clinic. The goal for your
blood pressure is for the top number to be
less than ______ and the bottom number
to be less than _______.
Why is this test done?
You may do this test at home to:
ξ Find out if you have high blood
ξ Track your blood pressure if you have
high blood pressure.
ξ Track how well medicine is working to
reduce high blood pressure.
ξ Assess symptoms that may be from
low or high blood pressure.
ξ Check how lifestyle changes, such as
weight loss and exercise, are affecting
How you can prepare for the test
ξ Do not use caffeine, tobacco, or
medicines known to raise blood
pressure (such as nasal decongestant
sprays) for at least 30 minutes before
taking your blood pressure.
ξ Do not eat or exercise for at least 30
minutes before taking your blood
ξ Empty your bladder prior to taking
your blood pressure.
How to check blood pressure at home
ξ Take your blood pressure while you
feel comfortable and relaxed.
ξ Sit quietly with your back supported
and both feet flat on the floor for at
least 5 minutes before the test.
ξ Do not talk, watch TV, or look at
your phone or tablet during the blood
ξ Sit with your arm slightly bent and
resting on a table so that your upper
arm is at the same level as your
ξ Roll up your sleeve or take off your
shirt to expose your upper arm.
ξ Wrap the blood pressure cuff around
your upper arm so that the lower
edge of the cuff is about 1 inch
above the bend of your elbow.
Checking your blood pressure with an
automatic blood pressure monitor
ξ Press the on/off button on the
automatic monitor and wait until the
ready symbol or message appears next
to zero in the display window.
ξ Press the start button. The cuff will
inflate and deflate by itself. Some
machines measure the blood pressure 3
ξ Your blood pressure numbers will
appear on the screen.
ξ If your machine does not store the
blood pressure and heart rate readings,
write them in your log book, along
with the date and time.
When to check your blood pressure at
ξ At first, you should check your blood
pressure 2 times each day at different
times of day or as instructed by your
ξ Check in the morning and in the
evening. Take 2 blood pressure
measurements at least a minute apart.
ξ Keep a record of your blood
ξ Send us a MyChart message or call
the clinic with your home readings in
ξ Are a key part of your treatment and
ξ Be sure to make and go to all your
ξ Call your doctor if you are having
ξ Keep a list of the medicines you
When to Call
Call your doctor now or seek medical
care right away if:
ξ Your blood pressure is much higher
than normal (such as 180/110 or
ξ You think high blood pressure is
causing symptoms such as:
ξ Severe headache
ξ Blurry vision
Watch closely for changes in your
health. Be sure to contact your
doctor if you do not get better.
ξ Anytime you think you may need
ξ If you have symptoms of a stroke.
These may include:
o Sudden numbness, tingling,
weakness, or loss of
movement in your face, arm,
or leg, especially on only one
side of your body.
o Sudden vision changes.
o Sudden trouble speaking.
o Sudden confusion or trouble
o Sudden problems with
walking or balance.
o A sudden, severe headache
that is different from past
ξ If you have symptoms of a heart
attack. These may include:
o Chest pain or pressure, or a
strange feeling in the chest.
o Shortness of breath.
o Nausea or vomiting.
o Pain, pressure, or a strange
feeling in the back, neck, jaw
or upper belly or in one or
both shoulders or arms.
o Lightheadedness or sudden
o A fast or irregular heartbeat.
Home Blood Pressure Log
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any
questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical
advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are
different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an
emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved.
Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7684