How to Take Blood Pressure

Other Devices Used to Measure Blood Pressure

Some testing devices use digital readouts or electronic instruments. In these cases, the blood pressure reading appears on a small screen or is signaled in beeps and no stethoscope is used.

Suggestions for the Blood Pressure Test

The following are some suggestions to help your healthcare provider take blood pressure as accurately as possible:
  • Wear short sleeves so that your arm is exposed.
  • Don't drink coffee or smoke cigarettes 30 minutes before having your blood pressure measured.
  • Before the test, sit for five minutes with your back supported and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart.
  • Go to the bathroom prior to the reading. A full bladder can change your blood pressure reading.
  • Ask the nurse or doctor for the numbers of your reading.
  • Get two readings -- taken at least two minutes apart -- and average the results.
(Click Blood Pressure Numbers to learn what the readings mean.)
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