What is the right way to check your blood pressure?

Mistakes when measuring your blood pressure can make your readings falsely higher or lower? Read the following tips to find out how to get accurate readings-

One of the scariest things about high blood pressure is that it rarely presents with any sign or symptom to warn you.  

It is indeed a “silent killer” as many patients especially in Africa only know about their high blood pressure after it damages their heart (heart attack), brain (stroke) or kidney (chronic kidney disease). 

According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa has the highest rate of high blood pressure in the world with more than 4 out of 10 adults living with the disease. 

This is why routine blood pressure checks are especially important and should be carried out at every single visit to a healthcare facility.

Documentation of blood pressure is very important for monitoring. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (blood pressure that is above 140/90mm/Hg), it is advisable to get a blood pressure monitor device to carry out routine checks even at home.

“Many patients, especially in Africa only know about their high blood pressure after it damages their heart (heart attack), brain (stroke) or kidney (chronic kidney disease)”

Correct blood pressure measurement at a healthcare facility 

If you walk a long distance or climb a series of stairs to your healthcare facility, it is advisable to sit in a comfortable chair for about 15 minutes before having your blood pressure readings taken. 

Also, if you have a blood pressure monitor at home, you can bring your readings from home to compare with the readings taken with your physician as some patients may experience a rise in blood pressure due to the anxiety of being in a doctor’s office, this is commonly referred to as white coat hypertension.

If you’re also getting your blood pressure checked for the first time, you can request for the readings to be taken from both arms sequentially. If the reading from one arm is higher than the other (ensure this is not due to external errors), that side should be the one checked in future and also the one on which base treatment plan is based upon. 

Women who have had mastectomies (surgery to remove the breast) should have their blood pressure measurements taken in the arm opposite the side from which the breast has been removed.

Correct blood pressure measurement at home

Appropriate cuff sizes are very important in order to get accurate results when taking blood pressure readings. Studies have shown that using a blood pressure cuff that is too big can give a falsely low reading while using a blood pressure cuff that is too small can cause your blood pressure to increase by as much as 10 to 40mm/Hg.

Ensure you buy a bigger cuff if the cuff that comes with your machine is too small for your arm. You shouldn’t feel extreme tightness or discomfort when taking your blood pressure reading.

Get a comfortable chair to sit on with your back rested and in a straight position. Do not sit on the edge of your bed or the floor when taking your readings. 

You should also get a table close-by to rest your forearm on. Do not just place your arms on your laps or fold it. Place your feet flat on the floor and ensure to not cross your legs.

Maintain quietness and stillness while taking your blood pressure. Do not eat, discuss with someone or watch TV while taking the readings.

Get a notepad to document each reading. It is advisable to take two readings each time, you can show these values to your physician to monitor progress if you’re on any medication or lifestyle modification plan.

“Studies have shown that using a blood pressure cuff that is too big can give a falsely low reading while using a blood pressure cuff that is too small can cause your blood pressure to increase by as much as 10 to 40 mm/Hg”

Don’t forget the following tips:

  • Don’t take heavy food right before measuring your blood pressure (this can falsely reduce your blood pressure reading)
  • Don’t take caffeine or other stimulants before measuring your blood pressure (this can elevate your blood pressure)
  • Don’t cross your legs while taking your blood pressure measurement
  • Remove tight or heavy accessories around your wrist and arm before taking blood pressure measurements
  • Don’t place the blood pressure cuff over clothing; ensure it is placed over your bare arm
  • Void your bladder completely before taking your readings as a full bladder can raise your blood pressure
  • Maintain a comfortable sitting position with legs placed flat on the floor and arm supported with a table
  • Don’t use too tight or too loose blood pressure cuffs
  • Wait one minute between each blood pressure measurement before taking the next one
  • Rest for about 15 minutes if you have just walked a long distance to your healthcare facility 

Note: Even if you have a blood pressure monitor device at home, always inform your physician regularly about your blood pressure readings, especially if there is a change of about 5-10 mm/Hg.


  1. After reading your article, it reminded me of some things about gate io that I studied before. The content is similar to yours, but your thinking is very special, which gave me a different idea. Thank you. But I still have some questions I want to ask you, I will always pay attention. Thanks.

  2. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    thank you

  3. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know
    so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  4. Hello very nice web site!! Guy .. Excellent ..

    Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your web site and
    take the feeds also? I’m satisfied to search out a lot of useful info here within the put up, we’d
    like develop more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.

    . . . . .

  5. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your
    sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come
    back later. Cheers

  6. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am
    impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  7. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist
    with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted
    keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share.

  8. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article
    like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all
    site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever

  9. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just
    posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  10. fantastic post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists
    of this sector do not realize this. You must proceed your writing.
    I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  11. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you could be a
    great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog
    and definitely will come back in the future. I want to encourage yourself to continue your
    great writing, have a nice afternoon!