Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Your blood pressure can be measured at home, or at your health care provider's office, a fire station, pharmacies, and many other places.
Your arm should be supported, with your upper arm at heart level, back supported, legs uncrossed, and feet on the floor. Your upper arm should be bare, with your sleeve comfortably rolled up. You or your health care provider will wrap the blood pressure cuff snugly around your upper arm. The lower edge of the cuff should be 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. The cuff will be inflated quickly, either by pumping the squeeze bulb or pushing a button. You will feel tightness around your arm. Next, the valve of the cuff is opened slightly, allowing the pressure to slowly fall. As the pressure falls, the reading when the sound of blood pulsing is first heard is recorded. This is the systolic pressure. As the air continues to be let out, the sounds will disappear. The point at which the sound disappears is recorded. This is the diastolic pressure. Inflating the cuff too slowly or not high enough may cause a false reading. If you loosen the valve too much, you won't be able to determine your blood pressure. The procedure may be done two or more times.