Many patients that come to our practice work closely with our providers to track their blood pressure. Some are managing ongoing hypertension and others have an unexpected change in their blood pressure that requires some more investigating. One way to really gain a better understanding of your blood pressure, including consistencies and jumps/dips, is tracking your blood pressure for a period of time.

At our family practice, we take a manual blood pressure reading at each visit. It's recommended by the American Heart Association that you use an automatic monitor when taking your blood pressure reading at home. This type of monitor will provide the most reliable reading. To find a validated blood pressure monitor, click here.

How to Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

Sit up straight. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed and your back straight. Make sure your arm is rested on a flat surface.

Sit still. Take five minutes to relax. Avoid exercise, smoking and caffeinated beverages at least 30 minutes before you take a reading.

Place the monitor on correctly. The monitor should be placed directly above the bend in your elbow and directly on your skin. Avoid taking a reading with the cuff over clothing.

Monitor your pressure at the same time(s) each day. When possible, take a reading in the morning and a reading in the evening during the tracking period. It is important to take the readings daily for the period of time recommended by the provider.

Check it twice. When you measure your blood pressure, take at least two readings with one to two minutes in between each reading. A single high reading is not necessarily cause for concern. If you notice it becomes consistently high, it would be important to connect with your provider.

Record your readings. After each reading, record your results as a way to reference previous readings with your doctor. An easy way to do that is by downloading our Blood Pressure Log (Printable PDF)(opens in a new tab). This log allows you to track your readings and provide a detailed overview of your blood pressure rather than just a snapshot. Even after your appointment, you can continue to track on the same sheet. This log can be typed in or printed for easy use.

For more information on tracking your blood pressure, managing chronic hypertension or changes in your blood pressure, talk to your provider. High blood pressure can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated. You primary care provider is the best partner in handling your blood pressure and will connect you with specialists if the need arises. If you are in need of a PCP, Heyl Family Practice is accepting new patients at our West View and McCandless Office!