What is blood pressure monitoring?
- The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends home blood pressure monitoring for people who have high blood pressure.
- Your health care provider will review your readings to determine how to treat you best and evaluate if your treatments are working.
- Your doctor may recommend home blood pressure monitoring if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, if you are starting treatments for high blood pressure, or if you are at risk for developing high blood pressure if you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with hypertension.
- Before using a home monitor, take it to your doctor to ensure you know how to use the monitor correctly.
- You will take measurements two times a day, preferably at the same time and in the same arm. Do not take it right when you wake up.
Why is blood pressure monitoring preformed?
High blood pressure will be diagnosed by a medical professional.
- Elevated blood pressure is considered anything over 120/80.
- High blood pressure Stage 1 is greater than 130/80.
- High blood pressure Stage 2 is greater than 140/90.
- Hypertensive crisis is greater than 180/120.
In some cases, your doctor will recommend home blood pressure monitoring because intermittent checks at your doctor’s office are not enough.
Most home blood pressure monitors are safe and easy to use. They can help reduce your heart attack risk and help your doctor more effectively treat your blood pressure.
Who is a candidate for blood pressure monitoring?
Your doctor may recommend blood pressure monitoring for patients in the following situations:
- People with diagnosed high blood pressure (HBP).
- People who are starting treatments for high blood pressure.
- People at risk for high blood pressure or conditions related to high blood pressure.
- Pregnant women who have hypertension or preeclampsia associated with pregnancy.
- Determining if someone has high blood pressure who may have had inaccurate readings at the doctor.
How to prepare for blood pressure monitoring
Before using a home blood pressure monitor, take the device to your doctor or nurse to determine if it is appropriate for you.
Your care team can help you learn how to use the monitor correctly. Your provider may check the accuracy of the device against a reading from the office blood pressure monitor.
How to perform home blood pressure monitoring
Follow the guidelines below to ensure you record accurate readings:
Measure your blood pressure two times daily, preferably at the same time each day. The first reading should be before eating or taking medications in the morning and the second reading in the evening. During each session, take the reading two to three times to ensure you get accurate results.
- Do not take a blood pressure reading right when you wake up. Wait until you get up and move around a bit.
- Take a blood pressure measurement in the morning before exercising.
- Do not eat, consume caffeine or alcohol, or smoke within 30 minutes of taking the measurement.
- Use the bathroom before taking a measurement.
- If the device is damaged or dropped, have it checked before using it.
- Sit for approximately five minutes in a comfortable position with legs and ankles uncrossed and back supported before you take a measurement.
- Do not talk when taking a measurement.
- Always use the same arm and raise your arm to the level of your heart, resting it on a table or chair arm. Place a pillow or cushion under the arm to elevate it.
- Secure the cuff around your bare skin (not on top of clothing).
- Approximately one to three minutes after the first reading, take another reading to ensure accuracy.
How long does blood pressure monitoring last?
Your blood pressure varies throughout the day. Generally, they are higher in the morning. They may be slightly higher in a medical office vs. at home.
Contact your doctor if you notice a persistent or unusual increase in blood pressure.
Your doctor will tell you what reading will need immediate medical care.