Tips for using your blood pressure cuff

To get the most accurate blood pressure reading, remember the following tips:

  • Make sure the blood pressure cuff is the right size for you. Cuffs come in different sizes, including pediatric sizes if you have very small arms. You should be able to comfortably slip one finger between your arm and the cuff when it’s deflated.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking, or exercising 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • Be sure to sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet shouldn’t be crossed.
  • Take your blood pressure at different times of the day and record exactly what time each blood pressure measurement is taken.
  • Rest three to five minutes before taking your blood pressure and a few extra minutes if you’ve recently been very active, such as rushing around.
  • Bring your own at-home monitor to your doctor’s office at least once a year to calibrate it and make sure it’s working correctly.
  • Take at least two readings every time to make sure they’re correct. The readings should be within a few numbers of each other.
  • Take your blood pressure at different times throughout the day over a period of time to get the most accurate readings and ranges.
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