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Posts Tagged ‘Blood Pressure Readings’

Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sam Steele.

Blood pressure categories

Why is it important to control blood pressure?

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is crucial for overall health. When we measure blood pressure, we assess the pressure exerted by blood against the artery walls. Elevated blood pressure can strain the heart, leading to reduced heart strength, while the forceful blood flow can damage blood vessels. Besides the heart and blood vessels, prolonged high blood pressure can result in damage to other essential organs, like the kidneys, eyes, and brain. It’s noteworthy that high blood pressure stands as the foremost controllable risk factor for stroke, contributing to 54% of strokes worldwide.

What are my blood pressure goals?

Individuals who have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have a blood pressure less than 120/80. Meaning that the systolic (top number) is less than 120 AND the diastolic (bottom number) is less than 80.

For most people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the goal is less than 130/80. Meaning the systolic should be less than 130 AND the diastolic less than 80. These numbers have been chosen because research has shown that keeping blood pressure below this level significantly reduces the risk of health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

If your systolic (top) number is ever higher than 180 or if your diastolic (bottom) number is ever higher than 120, try to relax and then retake the reading. If it is still high, it is considered a hypertensive crisis. You need to call your doctor right away or go receive urgent care. 

How to accurately measure your blood pressure at home

Measuring blood pressure at home can be a great way to take charge of your health. Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, taking your blood pressure at home and recording the readings in a log can be helpful for your doctor, especially if you are taking blood pressure medication.

Cuff placement

Some tips recommended by the American Heart Association for accurate at home readings.

  • Be Still – Sit still for at least 5 minutes before measurements. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring blood pressure
  • Sit correctly – Sit with your back straight and supported in a firm chair. Keep feet flat on the floor and uncross legs. Support your arm on a flat surface, keeping your upper arm at heart level.
  • Measure at the same time each day – Ideally, take a measurement around the same time each day, such as in the morning and evening.
  • Proper placement – Proper placement of the cuff is important. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for help if you are unsure how to place the cuff.
  • Take multiple readings – Each time you measure your blood pressure, take two readings one minute apart and record the results.
  • Use arm blood pressure cuffs – more accurate than monitors that measure blood pressure at the wrist. 

Here are some other resources for at home blood pressure readings


  1. Gaciong, Zbigniew et al. “Blood pressure control and primary prevention of stroke: summary of the recent clinical trial data and meta-analyses.” Current hypertension reports 15,6 (2013): 559-74. doi:10.1007/s11906-013-0401-0
  2. Whelton, Paul K et al. “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979) 71,6 (2018): e13-e115. doi:10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065
  3. “Home Blood Pressure Monitoring.” Diabetes Access, diabetesaccess.org/home-blood-pressure-monitoring. Accessed 21 Nov. 2023.
  4. “Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home.” Heart.Org, 17 Oct. 2023, www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings/monitoring-your-blood-pressure-at-home.