Blood Pressure Home > Taking Blood Pressure
Some blood pressure testing devices use electronic instruments or digital readouts. In these cases, the reading appears on a small screen or is signaled in beeps and no stethoscope is used when taking blood pressure.
The following are some suggestions to consider when your blood pressure is being taken:
- Don't drink coffee or smoke cigarettes 30 minutes before having your blood pressure measured.
- Wear short sleeves so your arm is exposed.
- 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.
- Get two readings -- taken at least two minutes apart -- and average the results.
- Ask the doctor or nurse to tell you the blood pressure reading in numbers as opposed to vague terms like "a little high."
(Click Blood Pressure Numbers to learn what the readings mean.)