Diastolic blood pressure; Systolic blood pressure
What the risks are
There are no significant risks associated with checking blood pressure.
If you have vascular access (shunt) for kidney dialysis on your arm, you should not have your blood pressure checked in that arm.
Repeated measurements are important. A single high measurement does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. On the other hand, a single normal measurement does not necessarily mean that you don't have high blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings taken at home can provide important information to your doctor. Such readings may be a better measure of your current blood pressure than those taken at your doctor's office, as long as you make sure your machine is accurate. You can ask your health care provider to compare readings in the office. Many people become nervous at the doctor's office and have higher readings that they normally would at home. This is called white coat hypertension.
Consult your provider if your blood pressure measurements are consistently high or low or if you have symptoms at the same time as the high or low reading.
Review Date: 05/23/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.