If you've ever had "borderline" or high blood pressure readings, your doctor may suggest you monitor and track your blood pressure at home with a 24-hour monitoring device. This seems to be good advice in light of a recent study that shows ambulatory readings in real-life settings are much better at predicting a patient's risk of dying over the next five years, versus readings taken at a doctor's office.
"White Coat" high pressure readings at the doctor's office often are not duplicated when patients take their pressure at home, which can lead many to wonder if their medications are working or if they are really at risk. Instead, a 24-hour ambulatory portable monitor may be a much better gauge of your prognosis, as it will routinely take your pressure every 30 minutes, capturing real-life blood pressure. While the devices are not always covered by insurance, the study suggests that they are well worth owning, given that hypertension is sometimes masked if not regularly monitored.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition. The older you are, the more likely you are to get it. Blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries. When it's too high, your heart has to work harder. This can cause serious damage to your arteries. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure makes you more likely to get heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
If your doctor does not have ambulatory monitors, a home monitor is the next best thing. Here are some helpful tips from the American Heart Association to help you monitor your pressure at home more accurately.