Monitoring blood pressure

When should I get my blood pressure checked?

As a guide, if your blood pressure is in the healthy range as above, it is recommended you get your blood pressure checked at least every 5 years.

If your blood pressure is on the higher side of healthy it is recommended that you make lifestyle changes.

If your blood pressure is high or very high you should follow clinical advice on how often to monitor your blood pressure.

Monitor your blood pressure

How to check your blood pressure at home

We encourage people to check their blood pressure at home for a more accurate reading. It is often more reliable than getting it checked at a hospital clinic or at your GP practice, as people tend to be more relaxed in their own surroundings.


Click on the infographic to enlarge.


Buying a blood pressure monitor

To measure your blood pressure at home, you will need a home blood pressure monitor. You can buy a blood pressure monitor for approximately £20. If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK.

If you have an irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation) some of the standard blood pressure monitors may not be accurate. Therefore, you need to check that any device used to check your blood pressure is appropriate

To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that is accredited from one of the multiple links below. Blood pressure monitors: All you need to know – BHF and  For Home Use – British and Irish Hypertension Society | Registered UK Charity No. 287635 (, or choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British Hypertension Society. This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it provides reliable results. Upper arm blood pressure machines are recommended rather than wrist machines. Some GP surgeries have free-to-use self-service blood pressure monitors in waiting rooms.

Home Blood Pressure Monitors

Practical tips for checking your blood pressure

  • Make sure the cuff fits: Cuffs come in different sizes and to get accurate readings it’s important you chose the cuff that is the right size for you.
  • Thin clothing is adequate to put cuff over.
  • Be still, no talking or listening to another conversation.
  • Comfortable temperature where measuring.
  • Remove watch/rings.
  • Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
Sit correctly

Sit with your back straight and supported (eg: on a dining chair rather than a sofa). Your feet should be flat on the floor and legs uncrossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface (such as a table), with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the middle of the cuff is placed directly above the eye of the elbow. Check your blood pressure machine’s instructions for an illustration.

Accurately record all your results

Record all your readings, including the date and time taken. Remember to take your results with you if you are seeing your practice nurse or GP about your blood pressure.

Some monitors have built-in memory to store your readings. If yours does, take it with you to your appointments.

Understand the readings

A healthy blood pressure is usually less than 140/90 mmHg. Find out more about what your blood pressure readings mean.

View the infographic here.

Take multiple readings

Take two or three readings one minute apart and record all the results. Use the lowest reading.

Be still

Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.

Measure at the same time of day

It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day (eg morning and evening), or as your healthcare professional recommends.