Home blood pressure monitoring
If your GP feels that it is difficult to obtain an accurate blood pressure reading in his/her surgery, then you may be asked to record your blood pressure at home.
This is particularly useful for people who suffer from white coat hypertension: this is a condition in which someone finds that their blood pressure rises when it is measured in a medical environment, which is due to stress or anxiety.
Having your own blood pressure monitor is useful if you want to keep an eye on your blood pressure, especially if you fall into a high risk category.
Plus there is also the fact that you are more likely to be relaxed at home than in your GP’s surgery which means that you will obtain a more accurate reading.
So, a home based blood pressure monitor sounds like a good idea. But it is not suitable for everyone. Plus it is important to choose the right monitor for you and to understand how it works. You need to be able to use it properly to get the maximum benefit from it.
This section of the guide looks at this in the following two sub-sections:
- Choosing a blood pressure monitor
- Using a blood pressure monitor
Remember: home blood pressure monitoring is just one of several ways of measuring high blood pressure. Your GP may advise you to undergo other tests which include blood and urine tests, 24 hour ambulatory monitoring and an echocardiogram.
These are all discussed in more detail in our medical tests section.
But before we look at what type of blood pressure monitor to choose, ask yourself the following question:
Is home blood pressure monitoring for me?
The reason we ask this is that it is not for everyone. Some people find that they become stressed or anxious when doing so which is usually a case of trying to obtain an accurate reading.
They become worried about obtaining an ‘incorrect’reading and find that they compensate for this by taking too many readings. The problem with this is that their stress or anxiety is expressed in the blood pressure readings!
So, if you feel that this going to stress you out then think again about whether you want to try this form of monitoring.
Advantages of home blood pressure monitoring
If you are comfortable with doing this then you will find that there are a few advantages to doing so. These include:
- You are able to see if your blood pressure is higher at home than in your GP’s surgery.
- You can obtain an accurate reading of your blood pressure on a daily basis.
- You can see the effects of any lifestyle changes and medication on your blood pressure readings.
People who are happy to do this report that it puts them in control of their condition and treatment plan.
If you are happy to go ahead with this then your next step is to choose a home blood pressure monitor. This is discussed in more detail in the next section.
High Blood Pressure
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- Diagnosing high blood pressure
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- Choosing a blood pressure monitor
- Using a home blood pressure monitor
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