Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

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Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(2):261

See related article on home blood pressure monitoring.

Why should I monitor my blood pressure at home?

Monitoring your blood pressure at home helps you and your doctor choose how to treat your high blood pressure. Controlling it can help lower the risk of problems with your heart, kidneys, and eyes.

How do I monitor my blood pressure at home?

There are many easy-to-use blood pressure monitors available. You can buy them at most drug stores and medical supply stores. Electronic blood pressure monitors display your blood pressure. The cuffs can be inflated by hand or automatically.

Be sure to use a cuff that fits you, and don't wear tight clothes when checking your blood pressure. Rest quietly before and during measurement. Rest your arm at heart level during measurement. Don't exercise or use any caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose a monitor and teach you how to use it.

How often should I monitor my blood pressure?

This depends on several things, such as your usual blood pressure and how well it is controlled. Your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood pressure.

What should my blood pressure be?

This varies from person to person. Your doctor will tell you what your goals should be. Also, ask your doctor what to do if you get readings above or below your goals.

Blood pressure goal:______________________

Contact your doctor if your blood pressure is: ________________________

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