For people with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), the American Heart Association recommends home monitoring of blood pressure. In fact, research has shown that when performed in addition to measurements taken at your doctor’s office, tracking your blood pressure at home can be helpful. However, always be aware that home monitoring is recommended only as a way to supplement but not to replace the blood-pressure measurements taken at your routine doctor’s appointments.
Keep in mind the following when monitoring blood pressure at home:
Expect a degree of variation in readings. When recording your blood pressure at home it is important to remember that bp levels can naturally fluctuate throughout the day, as a result of physical activity, medications, changes in diet, and/or feelings (for example, excitement and anxiety among other emotions). Any of these factors can alter readings.
Discuss with your doctor the best time of day to take each measurement and the best apparatus to use when doing so. Record the measurements in the same easy-to-find notebook or log over a period of time so that you and your doctor can have an idea of what your average blood pressure reading is.
Do not alter your medications in any way. No matter what your readings at home may show at any given time, it is never advised that you stop taking any blood-pressure medication you are on without first contacting and consulting with your doctor.
Measuring your blood pressure may be beneficial to you if you have been diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension. Additionally, you may want to ask your doctor about home monitoring if you are starting a new medication for high blood pressure. That’s because the more frequent monitoring may help to determine the drug’s effectiveness. Home monitoring may also benefit people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, and/or kidney disease.