It has been nearly 50 years since BIOS introduced our first blood pressure kits for “home-use”. In those early days, patients were trying to understand their own blood pressure because they often were not tolerating their hypertension medications and were motivated to reduce or eliminate them. Many succeeded in lowering their blood pressure levels naturally with changes to their diets, sodium intake, and cardiovascular fitness.
In the decades since those pioneering patients, the devices have become extremely accurate and much easier to use. Today, home blood pressure monitoring along with 24-hour ambulatory tests are recommended by Hypertension Canada for the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of hypertension.
For the last 20 years, a multitude of studies from different countries have all recognized that home blood pressure monitoring is superior to measurements taken in clinics by medical professionals. Improper technique by physicians combined with the effects of White Coat and Masked Hypertension while in a clinical setting, often produce unreliable data. In fact, in 2015 Hypertension Canada advised doctor’s that: “routine or casual blood pressure measurements should never be used to diagnose a patient as hypertensive or to follow a patient’s progress.”
Alternatively, “out-of-office” measurements, either 24 hour ambulatory or home blood pressure measurements should be used to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension.
Other research has shown that patients who measure at home demonstrate improved compliance to treatment, avoidance of over treatment, and better blood pressure control.
The lessons for over 7.5 million Canadians are obvious: monitor at home to understand your “real” average blood pressure.
Reference: Cloutier, Lyne, Stella S. Daskalopoulou, Raj S. Padwal, Maxime Lamarre-Cliche, Peter Bolli, Donna Mclean, Alain Milot, Sheldon W. Tobe, Guy Tremblay, Donald W. Mckay, Raymond Townsend, Norm Campbell, and Mark Gelfer. “A New Algorithm for the Diagnosis of Hypertension In Canada.” Canadian Journal of Cardiology 31.5 (2015): 620-30. Print.