Does cuff size affect blood pressure readings?

Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

Using a blood pressure cuff that's too large or too small can give you blood pressure readings that are not accurate. Your health care provider's office should have several sizes of cuffs to ensure an accurate blood pressure reading.

When you measure your blood pressure at home, it's important to use the proper size cuff. Here are some tips to help you get the right size.

  • Cuff length: The inflatable part of the blood pressure cuff should cover about 75% to 100% of the distance around your upper arm.
  • Cuff width: The cuff should be wide enough to cover from 40% to 80% of the distance from your elbow to your shoulder.

If you're concerned about the size of your cuff or your blood pressure readings, talk to your health care provider. You may need to have your blood pressure taken several times during your appointment using the same, properly sized cuff on the same arm. An average of these blood pressure readings should give your "true" blood pressure for that visit.

If your provider asks you to check your blood pressure at home, take two blood pressure readings each time you check. Wait one minute between the two readings. Write down your results and bring them to your next appointment.

With

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

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April 13, 2023 See more Expert Answers

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