Should you monitor blood pressure at home?
Who should monitor blood pressure at home?
Home monitoring of blood pressure is useful for:
- People who have some high readings at the doctor’s office, to rule out white-coat hypertension (anxiety related with visit to doctor leading to high blood pressure)
- Patients starting treatment of high blood pressure, to determine its effectiveness
- Patients requiring closer monitoring than intermittent office visits, especially individuals with heart disease, diabetes and/or kidney disease
- Elderly patients, because the white-coat effect increases with age
Home BP monitoring: is it accurate? Useful?
There is a lot of contradictory information available on home BP monitoring. Some Indian doctors also are distrustful of the automated BP monitors and put them down as inaccurate
But the JAPI guidelines on hypertension 2013 by Association of Physicians in India state has finally endorsed home monitoring of BP as beneficial for patients of high blood pressure.
What are the precautions to take when starting to do home blood pressure monitoring ?
- Buy a good BP app: check out this list by British Hypertension Society (http://www.bhsoc.org//index.php?cID=246). Buy a certified apparatus
- Calibrate your blood pressure monitor before you start using by taking it to your doctor’s clinic. When the doctor/nurse will take your BP with their clinic BB app, ask them to also take BP once with your home BP app. This way you can compare and be assured of it’s accuracy
- Be sure to learn the process of taking blood pressure reading correctly. Do it a few times at the clinic under supervision
How to keep a blood pressure chart or blood pressure log?
- Take BP everyday at nearly the same time, for example, just after getting up. Always record your reading, so that you a observe a pattern
- Discuss in advance with your doctor what should be taken as high readings. If you find that your BP is too high, call your doctor and inform immediately
So, take charge of your own blood pressure monitoring and help your doctor give better care !
Know more about how to manage your heart risk, also read heart risk factors: what are the desired control levels
CHECK OUT: FWI references for preventive health checks