Blood pressure collection

You have agreed to take your blood pressure (BP) at home and send the readings in to the GP surgery so that we can assist you in your management of it where needed.

When your blood pressure rises, it increases your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. That’s why it’s so important for you and your doctor to keep an eye on how your blood pressure changes over time.

Monitoring your BP at home over a period of time gives the most accurate reading of your blood pressure. This is because everyone’s blood pressure naturally fluctuates over the course of a day and some people can be stressed when having their BP taken by a doctor or nurse, making their BP higher than it normally is. Monitoring your BP at home for up to 7 days as directed by the GP while you go about your everyday life will give us an accurate picture of your BP over time. To get accurate readings, it is important to use the right monitor and the right technique

Please remember that this is an automated service and no-one at the surgery will be looking at your readings every day, so if you feel unwell, you should take normal steps to look after yourself. This may include asking for help from health professionals as usual.

Buying a home blood pressure monitor

Make sure that the home blood pressure monitor you choose has been listed as ‘clinically validated’ for accuracy by the British Hypertension Society.

There are many different kinds of home blood pressure monitor, but it is easiest to use a monitor that is fully automatic (digital). Choose one that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, rather than at your wrist or finger. Upper-arm blood pressure monitors usually give the most accurate and consistent results. Ask your pharmacist for help to get the correct size of cuff for your arm.

When to measure:

  • Monitor your blood pressure in the morning and evening at a time that you are least stressed.
  • If able measure your morning blood pressure before you take your medication but do not delay taking your medication if you are not taking your readings first thing.
  • Prior to measuring, avoid things that can raise your blood pressure in the short term. Do not measure your blood pressure within half an hour of eating, smoking, exercising or drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, coke or energy drinks. These can all raise your blood pressure temporarily. If you need to use the toilet, go before you measure your blood pressure.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes. Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt or something with sleeves you can push up easily, nothing tight. This is so that you can fit the cuff around your arm.
  • Rest for five to ten minutes before you take your reading. Sit down somewhere quiet, ideally at a desk or table. Have your back supported with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor. Stay in this position while you take your blood pressure.
  • Make sure your arm is supported and at the same level as your heart. Position yourself so that your arm is resting on a surface and is at the same height as your heart. Keep your arm and hand relaxed, not tensed.
  • Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, your blood pressure will rise temporarily

How to measure your blood pressure at home using a home monitor

  1. Follow the instructions that came with your monitor. Make sure you place the cuff around your arm as described in the instructions.
  2. Place the arm cuff just above your elbow. The cuff should be about 2cm above your elbow to make sure it can detect the artery in your arm, just under the skin. 
  3. Keep still and quiet while you take your reading. Moving, chewing, talking and laughing can affect your reading. Make sure you don’t cross your legs, as this will raise your reading too.
  4. Take three readings, each about one to two minutes apart. Do not record your first reading regardless of what the numbers are.
  5. Keep a record of the next two readings and if you are able calculate the average of them. Record all your readings in the memory of your monitor, on your computer or phone or on paper – whichever you prefer. Write them down exactly as they appear on screen. 
  6. In the notes section, write down anything that could affect your reading, such as feeling unwell or changes  to your medication.

 General tips

  • Don’t worry if you get an unexpected high reading. A one-off high reading is usually nothing to worry about, rest for five minutes and take the reading again. If it’s still high, measure your blood pressure again another day. If it remains high for long, around two or three weeks, see your doctor or nurse.
  • Don’t worry about small changes. It’s normal for there to be small changes in your blood pressure.

Don’t check your blood pressure too often. Some people find that they become worried or stressed about small changes in their readings if they take them too often. Worrying can also raise your blood pressure in the short term, making your reading higher than it should be. When your blood pressure is within your target range and has been stable for some time measuring your blood pressure every 4 – 6 months.

Blood pressure review form

Click here for the form