Why It Is a Good Idea to Regularly Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Apr 04, 2019

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Only having your blood pressure checked when you visit the doctor means you are missing out on vital information that could help you improve your health.

Only having your blood pressure checked when you visit the doctor means you are missing out on vital information that could help you improve your health. Discover what information you can learn when you use an at-home blood pressure machine on a regular basis.

Blood pressure spikes that could indicate hypertension

A common misconception is that people with pre-hypertension or early onset hypertension maintain a dangerously high blood pressure 24 hours a day. In reality, individuals with these conditions see a spike in their blood pressure to dangerous levels twice a day. This twice a day spike is known as the “peak period”. The rest of the day, their blood pressure stays normal or only slightly elevated.

The peak periods for blood pressure spikes are usually sometime in the early morning between 6am and 8am and again in the late evening between 5pm and 8pm. Since these hours fall outside of a typical doctor’s office hours, doctors usually are unable to diagnose hypertension in its early stages when it is easier to treat.

Monitoring your blood pressure at home allows you to recognize if your readings are spiking during these peak hours. If you notice a continuing trend of higher blood pressure readings during these peak periods, you can bring it to the attention of your doctor, who can determine if you may be suffering from early onset hypertension.

See if blood pressure spikes in the doctor’s office are caused by nerves

Some people suffer from what is known as “white coat hypertension”, a condition that causes otherwise normal, healthy people to experience sudden spikes in their blood pressure when they visit the doctor. These spikes in blood pressure are believed to be caused by stress or nerves over visiting a medical practitioner.

By monitoring your blood pressure at home, you can successfully determine if your blood pressure readings are only elevated when you are at the doctor’s office, or if they increase at other times of the day. Elevated readings at later points in the day could indicate an underlying, undiagnosed medical problem.

Determining if current treatment for hypertension is working

When it comes to treating hypertension, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The types of medications and dosages prescribed will vary from person to person. Home monitoring of blood pressure can help you and your doctor determine if your current treatment is working.

Identify if emergency treatment is needed

Slightly elevated blood pressure isn’t considered a medical emergency. However, if blood pressure spikes to levels that are above 180/140mmHg, you could be at risk. To avoid life-changing (and even potentially fatal) complications, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a daily basis will help you identify when your blood pressure spikes to these extreme levels. The earlier you identify when your blood pressure spikes to these extreme levels, the sooner you can seek emergency treatment for hypertensive crisis.

Tips for monitoring your blood pressure at home

Monitoring your blood pressure from home can provide you with valuable information, but only if you do it properly. The following tips will help make sure that the results you get from at-home blood pressure monitoring are accurate:

  • Test at the same time every day — Blood pressure will rise and fall throughout the day. Testing at the same time every day will allow you to compare results and notice if numbers are higher or lower than normal.

  • Use appropriate blood-pressure testing equipment

  • Sit in the proper position while taking your blood pressure — You should be sitting straight up and have your heart, upper arm, and blood pressure monitor all at the same level

  • Measure blood pressure from the left arm

  • Keep accurate records of all blood pressure readings — don’t assume you will remember the information. Record your readings in a notebook with the date and time so you can reference them later.

If you notice irregularities in your blood pressure readings while monitoring them at home, the physicians at DOCCS Urgent Care can help. Call the office or use our online appointment booking service to schedule an appointment and discuss how to control your blood pressure.

DOCCS Urgent and Primary Health Care
✆ Phone (appointments): tel:321-752-7100