Blood Pressure Test

What you can expect

There are several blood pressure monitors, but an inflatable upper arm cuff is the most common. Your doctor will inflate the cuff, using a gauge to measure the blood pressure. At the same time, your doctor may also listen through a stethoscope to the sound of your blood as it travels through the artery.

Measuring your blood pressure is quite easy. It takes just a few minutes and doesn’t pose any safety risks. The process involves the following steps:

  1. You’ll be asked to sit still with your legs and ankles uncrossed while the measurement is taken.
  2. Your doctor or another medical professional will slide the blood pressure cuff just above your elbow on your bare arm. The cuff will inflate, tightening around your upper arm. If you’re not a good candidate for measuring your blood pressure on the upper arm, your doctor may seek an alternate type of monitoring, such as a wrist cuff.
  3. While the cuff is measuring your blood pressure, you’ll be asked to relax. If you try to “help” by holding up your arm during the measurement, your blood pressure will be slightly higher.
  4. Once a measurement has been gathered, the cuff will deflate, and your doctor will remove it.

If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to log your blood pressure levels. You can purchase an inexpensive monitor for home use. Of available home blood pressure monitors, those with an inflatable cuff over the upper arm are typically more accurate than wrist or finger models.