What is the right way to measure BP?

Jul 14, 2023

Devanshi Batra

Measuring BP

Measuring blood pressure (BP) accurately is important for assessing cardiovascular health and to determine whether you have hypertension. According to Harvard Health, here’s the right way to measure BP.


​Ideal position

Sit comfortably in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor, so your elbow is roughly at heart level. This is the ideal posture to take your blood pressure and this position should be maintained throughout the measurement.


​Correct arm?

Given that the reading in one arm, typically the right, may be greater than the reading in the left, it is a good idea to get your blood pressure taken in both arms at least once.


​Things to avoid

Avoid smoking, caffeine, and exercise for at least 30 minutes before the measurement.



You will need a properly calibrated sphygmomanometer (blood pressure monitor) and a stethoscope or an automated electronic BP monitor. Make sure the cuff size is appropriate for your arm circumference.


​Cuff placement

Place the cuff on your upper arm about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the bend of your elbow. Ensure it fits snugly but not too tight.


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​Measuring BP

Inflate the cuff, record and gradually deflate while listening with the stethoscope or observing the electronic monitor. As the pressure falls, you will hear or see the first thumping sound (systolic pressure). Note the reading.


​Don’t talk

It is advised, not to talk during the measurement.


​Repeat if necessary

It is recommended to have your blood pressure measured twice, allowing for a short interval between measurements. If there is a difference of 5 points or more between the readings, it is advisable to have it measured a third time.


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