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Blood Pressure Test

A device called a sphygmomanometer will be used to measure your blood pressure.

This usually consists of a stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial, although automatic devices that use sensors and have a digital display are also commonly used nowadays.

It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for the test. You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing, so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm. Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.

During the test:

you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it – your arm should be supported in this position, such as with a cushion or arm of a chair, the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm – this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds the pressure in the cuff is slowly released while a stethoscope is used to listen to your pulse (digital devices use sensors to detect vibrations in your arteries) the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm – these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading (see Understanding your blood pressure reading) You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display