Self-monitoring of blood pressure

Can I measure my blood pressure myself?

The most precise blood pressure readings are those taken by a healthcare professional. You can, however, measure your blood pressure yourself at home using a device called a sphygmomanometer.

Tips for self-monitoring

Blood pressure readings taken at home can be a useful addition to blood pressure readings taken by your healthcare provider. However, it is important to ensure that your device (the sphygmomanometer) is fitted with the correct cuff size. Using the wrong cuff size (mis-cuffing) is the most common cause of inaccurate readings.

Caffeine and nicotine can increase your blood pressure, so you should avoid coffee, cola or tea, and you should not smoke for at least 30 minutes before a blood pressure measurement.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring uses a portable device that reads and records blood pressure automatically at predetermined, regular time intervals. The monitor is worn continuously for 24-hour periods and causes only minor discomfort.

If your doctor requests ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, this does not imply that you have a particularly high risk. It simply assists the doctor in making diagnostic and treatment decisions in certain cases. It also helps to reduce the risk of misdiagnosing and overtreating blood pressure.