Determine the correct cuff size

To measure blood pressure you will need a cuff or blood pressure band. These bands come in many different sizes. Not every band is suitable for everyone. A cuff must fit securely around the arm. It should not be too loose or too tight. If it does, the measurement has failed and you have an inaccurate value.

In order to determine the correct cuff size, it is wise to measure the arm. After all, measuring is knowing.

To measure, we first have to make a distinction between the 2 different types of blood pressure meters. An upper arm blood pressure monitor measures around the upper arm. A wrist blood pressure monitor measures around the wrist. The same principle applies to both blood pressure monitors. They must be properly secured to get a correct measurement.


Upper arm blood pressure monitors

Determining the correct size cuff for an upper arm blood pressure monitor is easy. Many upper arm blood pressure monitors have a universal size that is suitable for almost everyone. Still, it is advisable to measure the arm for those who have a somewhat wider or smaller upper arm. Determining the right size goes as follows:


Step 1 - Determine the arm to be measured

Every upper arm is different. The circumference of a left upper arm may be different from the circumference of a right upper arm. This is due to the muscle build up. An arm that is used more frequently has more muscle formation, so it is usually a bit thicker. It is therefore good to determine which arm you are going to measure.

The guideline you use for this is as follows. Measurements should be taken on the arm you use the least, or the arm that is recommended by your (family) doctor. People who are mainly left-handed should measure the right arm. People who are right-handed should measure the left arm.

It could be that your (family) doctor advises you to measure your right arm while you are right-handed. This is often done if you had surgery on the left arm or side.

There are also doctors who say that measurements should always be taken on the left arm. The reason for this is that the left arm is closer to the heart. That is something from the past and is outdated. This was mainly because everyone had to write right-handed even though they were left-handed.

It is important that once you have determined the correct arm, you no longer switch arms. You cannot compare a blood pressure reading on the left arm with a blood pressure reading on the right arm.


Step 2 - use a fabric measuring tape

Once you have determined the proper arm, measure the circumference of the upper arm. It is best to do this with a fabric measuring tape. This is because a fabric measuring tape can easily be placed around the arm. You should measure at the thickest point of the upper arm. While doing so, keep the arm in a limp position. Keep the measuring tape tight. You can then read the measured centimeters from the measuring tape. Add 0,5 to 1 centimeter to this. That's the size you need

The measurements of the upper arm circumferences are usually between 12 and 52 centimeters. Our experiences are:

  • Babies - between 12-17 centimeters
  • Children - between 15 and 22 centimeters
  • Elderly - between 17 and 32 inches
  • Adults - between 22 and 52 centimeters

Flexible cuffs are available in sizes 12 to 52 centimeters. Preformed cuffs are only available in a universal size from 22 to 42 centimeters.


Wrist blood pressure monitors

Determining the correct size for a wrist blood pressure monitor is similar to that of an upper arm blood pressure monitor. The sizes are only smaller. Here too, you have to determine the correct wrist.

When you start measuring, you should measure about 4 to 5 centimeters below the wrist joint. That is the exact location of a wrist blood pressure monitor. The measured values are usually between 11 and 22 centimeters. Most wrist blood pressure monitors also offer this size.