Home blood pressure monitoring is now an accepted way to either validate or disprove the presence of hypertension, and to monitor the progress of treatment.  Many people have falsely elevated blood pressure readings when taken by physicians or their staffs (so-called “white-coat hypertension”).

The first step is to purchase a blood pressure cuff.  There are two types, aneroid and digital.  Please read this article for a discussion the merits of the two types, and pick the type that is best suited for your needs.  In brief, digital cuffs are easier to use but somewhat less accurate, but  are better if you are hard of hearing.  There are other issues discussed in the article.

Follow these steps to find your average blood pressure over a one week period:

▸ Take two blood pressure measurements 1 minute apart in the early morning (6-9 am), and average the two readings

▸ Take two blood pressure measurements 1 minute apart during the early evening (6-9 pm), and average the two readings.

▸ Average the morning and evening measurements for an all-day average.  Keep a record of all the measurements, however, as there may be differences in readings in the morning and evening which may be informative.

▸ Throw out the first day results.

▸ Average all of the other morning, evening, and all-day measurements for the week. This final average is used to decide how to manage the patient.

Source: HBPM Call to Action, also known as the Pickering Paper (Hypertension 2008;52:10–29)

Adapted from Family Practice News, Volume 39, Issue 9, Page 1 (1 May 2009)