Blood Pressure Being Monitored

Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home Can Be a Better Alternative Than Checking at Your Doctor

Blood pressure monitoring is one of the most common activities in a medical practice.  Patients that have been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, all require continuous blood pressure monitoring.  However, high blood pressure can also be checked at home.  In fact, a recent study showed that monitoring blood pressure at home for two days can be a much better alternative to costlier methods of multiple visits to a doctor or clinician.

The Study

The study1Devereux G, Gibney D, Fadhlillah F, et al Two-day home blood pressure monitoring may offer an alternative to costlier methods BMJ Innovations 2018;4:84-90. assessed that performing 20 measurements of blood pressure in two days can offer a stable and reliable representation of the resting diastolic and systolic blood pressure of the patients. 

The researchers determined that 10 readings of blood pressure everyday are as statistically representative as 15 readings each day.  They believed that an increased frequency of blood pressure reading and decreased duration might offer a more stable and realistic representation of the resting blood pressure of the patients.

The results showed that the reading of 10 blood pressure measurements in 2 days did offer a pragmatic and stable approach towards monitoring blood pressure at home.  The results indicated that it can be a better alternative for patients rather than costlier methods of monitoring blood pressure at a clinician or surgery.

Blood Pressure Readings

In order to take the right blood pressure readings at home, it is important that you understand how it works.  The blood pressure is taken in two numbers – diastolic (bottom number) and systolic (top number).  For example, if you have a 120/80 mm Hg blood pressure, it would be read as 120 over 80.

Aside from this, there are seven classifications of BP and definitions of hypertension, as per the most recent ESH/ESC Guidelines2European Heart Journal, Volume 39, Issue 33, 01 September 2018, Pages 3021–3104, in European Heart Journal, Volume 39, Issue 33, 01 September 2018.  These categories are:

Category    Systolic (mmHg)  Diastolic (mmHg) 
Optimal  <120  <80 
Normal  120–129  80–84 
High normal  130–139  85–89 
Grade 1 hypertension  140–159  90–99 
Grade 2 hypertension  160–179  100–109 
Grade 3 hypertension  ≥180  ≥110 
Isolated systolic hypertension ≥140  <90 

Table: Classification of office blood pressure and definitions of hypertension grade

The condition of hypertensive crisis is extremely serious and needs medical attention.  If you have a high blood pressure and are experiencing symptoms such as speaking difficulty, vision problems, weakness, numbness, back pain, breathing difficulty, or chest pain then you must immediately call for emergency medical assistance.

The Benefits of Home Monitoring

Monitoring your blood pressure at home has numerous advantages, including enhanced reproducibility, cost effectiveness, and improved tolerance.  It is even considered to provide more accurate readings as compared to the blood pressure readings taken in doctor’s offices.

Regular home monitoring helps in reducing the risk of hypertension, and also encourages patients to take charge of their health and become more involved in their long-term care, instead of solely relying on a doctor’s visit. Moreover, it also helps patients to learn to manage their blood pressure by adapting a healthier lifestyle, thereby enhancing their overall health.