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Blood Pressure Monitors

A blood pressure monitor is a device used to measure the amount of pressure in your arteries. Most blood pressure monitors have a sized cuff which wraps around the upper arm and inflates. Your blood pressure measurement is taken as the cuff slowly deflates. A home blood pressure monitor is a helpful tool for patients who want to monitor their blood pressure at home.

For any questions relating to our blood pressure monitors, the consultants at Sove CPAP Clinic will be glad to assist you. We can be contacted by calling 1300 76 29 39 or emailing us on info@thecpapclinic.com.au.


What does blood pressure measure?

Blood pressure measures the amount of pressure in your arteries, given in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). There are two blood pressure measurements: the first or top number which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure), and the second or bottom number which measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats (diastolic pressure). If your blood pressure reading is higher than 140/90 mmHg, you are considered to have high blood pressure.

How to use a blood pressure machine

For most automatic upper arm blood pressure monitors, you can follow these basic directions to measure blood pressure. If you want to monitor your blood pressure at home, there are plenty of home blood pressure monitors available. For more detailed instructions, please read the manual provided with your machine.

  • Sit upright on a chair with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor, with your back and arm being supported
  • Remove tight-fitting clothing from your arm. Do not roll up a tight sleeve. Do not place the arm cuff over thick clothes
  • Wrap the sized cuff firmly in place around the left upper arm. Please see instruction manual if needing to use the right arm.
  • The bottom edge of the arm cuff should be 1 to 2 cm above your elbow
  • Any air tubing should be on the inside of your arm and aligned with your middle finger
  • Rest your arm on a table so that the arm cuff is at the same level as your heart
  • Ensure solid connection of the airplug and cuff to main unit
  • Ensure you remain still and do not talk during the measurement
  • Press the START/STOP button
  • The cuff will inflate and a result will display on the screen (approx. 30-60 secs)
  • The reading will be automatically saved in the memory

It is also important to remember to avoid bathing, drinking alcohol/caffeine, smoking, exercising and eating for 30 minutes before taking a measurement, and to rest for at least 5 minutes beforehand as well.

For a blood pressure measurement to be accurate, it is important to make sure you are using the right sized cuff. Make sure you are using the recommended cuff size for your arm circumference. You may need to purchase a smaller or larger sized cuff with your machine to make sure you are getting an accurate reading.

If you see an irregular heartbeat symbol on blood pressure monitor, please consult your healthcare professional. An irregular heartbeat symbol on blood pressure monitors may indicate that your heart is not beating at a steady rhythm.

Does it matter which arm I use to measure my blood pressure?

You may find in monitoring your blood pressure that there are slight differences between measurements taken on either side of your body. This is very normal. Generally, it is recommended that you measure blood pressure on your non-dominant side so you can put on the sized cuff easily. However, if you are finding that your blood pressure measurement is differing by greater than 10 points between each arm, speak to a healthcare professional as this may be indicative of a circulation problem.

What is the best time to take blood pressure measurements?

Monitoring your blood pressure at the same time each day is important as your blood pressure will fluctuate during the day. To get an accurate reading, you should ideally avoid bathing, drinking alcohol/caffeine, smoking, exercising and eating for 30 minutes beforehand, and rest for at least 5 minutes. Monitoring your blood pressure at two points during the day (ie morning and evening) may be helpful as a comparison. Your healthcare professional may also advise you on the best time to take blood pressure for your circumstance.

Which is better – a wrist or upper arm blood pressure monitor?

Upper arm blood pressure monitors are the most common BP monitors, but some people may also be interested in a wrist blood pressure monitor. Wrist blood pressure monitors may be particularly helpful for those who struggle to fit the sized cuff around their upper arm. However, taking blood pressure measurements with a wrist BP monitor can give a less accurate reading, and may require more training. If you are having difficulty with the arm cuff, consider buying a larger or smaller sized cuff to help. Speak to your healthcare professional about which option would be best for you.