How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No special preparations are needed for a blood pressure test. You might want to wear a short-sleeved shirt to your appointment so that the nurse or technician doing your blood pressure test has easy access to your arm to perform the test.

However, if the main reason for your doctor's appointment is to check for or monitor high blood pressure, you should use the toilet before your test to empty your bladder, and avoid eating, drinking caffeinated beverages and smoking for one hour before your test.

Because some medications — such as over-the-counter cold medicines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), antidepressants, birth control pills and others — can affect your blood pressure, it's a good idea to take a list of medications and supplements you use to your doctor's appointment. Don't stop taking any prescription medications that you think may affect your blood pressure without your doctor's advice.

Nov. 10, 2015