In 2019 the American Heart Association published an article giving tips on checking blood pressure correctly.
Taking the reading
Before checking it is preferable to sit resting in a chair for 3-5 minutes to obtain an accurate resting reading.
Blood pressure can vary in each arm so it is recommended that it be checked in both arms and whichever arm gives the higher reading is the arm that should be used to check blood pressure each time.
It’s important to NOT cross your legs when your blood pressure is being checked as this can lead to a higher reading.
Sitting on a chair or bed without back support can lead to a higher reading.
Readings should preferably be taken on bare skin however they can be taken over clothing as long as the clothing is not rolled up as this can constrict the area and elevate the reading.
There should be NO talking while a measurement is being taken.
Make sure the cuff is large enough. If a cuff is used that is too small it can give a higher reading.
White coat hypertension
Sometimes it is found that patients’ blood pressure readings are higher when checked by a Doctor (who traditionally wore a white coat) as opposed to being checked elsewhere. It is for this reason that Doctor’s sometimes suggest that someone have their blood pressure checked in a pharmacy to see if the reading is similar.
Measuring blood pressure yourself
For most people it is not necessary to check your own blood pressure and this usually leads to unnecessary worrying. There are some situations where your Doctor might ask you to check it for a period of time and record the readings to show them.