Using a portable blood pressure monitor is a great way for you to take charge of your health at home. It can make you more involved and in control of your own health by monitoring effects of medication or lifestyle changes. Blood Pressure monitors are easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
Measuring your pressure more frequently can help uncover an underlying problem and get on the required treatment plan immediately. Monitoring your own blood pressure at home eliminates the problem of ‘White coat syndrome’, a condition where elevated blood pressure is seen by patients at a doctor’s office or clinical settings – usually due to anxiety. Owning a blood pressure monitor also allows you to have several recordings in a day or over a number of days.
Measuring your blood pressure at home is easy. It is important to following these guides to get an accurate measurement:
- Readings can vary throughout the day and is usually highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Measure your blood pressure at around the same time each day.
- Rest and relax in a quiet place for 5 minutes before monitoring your blood pressure. Turn off any distractions – especially the TV.
- Do not measure if you are feeling stressed, in pain or have a full bladder. Also avoid exercising, smoking, consuming food or drinks containing caffeine at least 30 minutes before monitoring.
- Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes.
- Discuss with your doctor how often you should be monitoring your blood pressure. It is recommended that you take three readings and average the last two for a more accurate measurement. Wait at least 1 or 2 minutes between recordings to let the blood flow back into your arm.
- While measuring, sit comfortably with your back supported and both feet flat on the ground. Rest your arm at heart level.
- Use the same Blood Pressure monitoring device for daily monitoring. There could be small variations in readings if different devices are used.
- Keep a blood pressure diary with the date and time to help your doctor make sure you get the right treatment.
- Check with your doctor for the right and safe blood pressure target for you.
With a variety of features that now come with Blood Pressure monitors, it is important that you choose a device that makes your blood pressure routine as simple as possible.
Cigna – High blood pressure
UT Southwestern Medical Center