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Choosing and Using a Monitor

Choosing and Using a Monitor

Using a home blood pressure monitor is easy, but it’s crucial to use it correctly for the most accurate results:

  • Look for a monitor that has been validated by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation or the British Hypertension Society. You can find a list of validated monitors at the Web sites and
  • When you first purchase your device, ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to use it correctly.
  • Monitors that measure blood pressure on the upper arm and have fully automatic cuffs are the most reliable. Make sure the cuff is the correct size for your arm.
  • Take at least two readings every morning and every evening, or as recommended by your doctor.
  • Do not exercise, smoke or drink coffee for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • When taking your blood pressure, sit up straight with your arm supported on a table and both feet on the floor.
  • Bring your monitor with you when you visit your doctor so it can be checked for accuracy.

Most pharmacies and medical supply stores have home blood pressure monitors, which are available without a prescription. Talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional about whether home monitoring is a good option.

High Blood pressure? If you’re African-American, you may be at higher risk for hypertension. In fact, it affects one out of three African-Americans, and at least two out of three over age 65. To learn more, get our FREE brochure, “High Blood Pressure in African-Americans,” by calling 1-888-LOURDES (568-7337).

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