Self-Monitoring = Lower Blood Pressure and Greater Control

Posted by Mark Beaton on

Whether you have been diagnosed with hypertension (>135mmHg / >85mmHg) or your BP is in the “pre-hypertensive / elevated” range (>120mmHg / 80mmHg) self-monitoring blood pressure at home is highly valuable and clinically preferred to measurements at your doctor’s office…. here’s why.

The majority of Canadians over 50 years old are presently on medications to control their high blood pressure. Although there are no symptoms, left uncontrolled it significantly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease, erectile dysfunction and premature death. Studies from around the world are unanimous in their support of self measured blood pressure.

1. Blood pressure when measured in your doctor’s office is not usually the best indication of one’s real average BP. Many people have elevated BP in the presence of a healthcare professional. This is known as “white coat hypertension”. But a more insidious condition is: “masked hypertension”. People with masked hypertension present normal BP levels at the clinic, but really have high blood pressure in real life. Of course a diagnosis, because hypertension is asymptomatic, is very difficult for your doctor. Data from self measuring is highly reliable when done correctly with a validated monitor. It is ideal for diagnosis or closely managing resistant hypertension.

2. Unlike other diseases, hypertension can be reversed. Changes to a healthier diet, more exercise, reducing weight and restricting alcohol and smoking can all play a role in lowering BP. An important part of these modifications is understanding what your average BP really is. Proper home measurements provide this vital information that can lead to lower BP levels.

3. More information is better. Periodic readings at your doctor’s office or from your local pharmacy are inadequate if you are trying to manage your hypertension. At home, you can measure at the best times of day and collect many data that will make your condition much clearer to you, your doctor and your pharmacist. Each of you are players on the same team, with a goal of lowering or controlling your blood pressure.

4. When you start to self-measure, learn proper technique. How and when you measure is as important as the monitor for really accurate readings.

For more information on blood pressure monitoring and techniques, visit our About Blood Pressure Section

Author: Mark Beaton, Sr. VP of Marketing BIOS Medical

Reference:
Self-Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home. A joint statement from the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association. Circulation. 2020; 141:00-00. Appeared in June AHA Journals.org


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