The March, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that blood pressure readings taken at home may predict the onset of high blood pressure and its heart-related problems more accurately than those taken at a doctor's office. Dr. Barbour recommends monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis, particularly if you are prehypertensive or already have high blood pressure.
For those working to lower their blood pressure, it's best to keep a close check on the numbers. Dr. Barbour advises her patients to home monitor their blood pressure at home at least two to four times a week. It's important to take readings at different times of the day as blood pressure can fluctuate. Reviewing the trend of your daily readings will help your doctor determine if your lifestyle and prescribed medications are working efficiently to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.
If you are not hypertensive, Dr. Barbour recommends checking your blood pressure once every few weeks as a preventive measure.
But what's the best device? There are several different types of home-monitoring systems. Dr. Barbour generally recommends the arm cuff with a dial. This device tends to be more accurate than the finger, or wrist or digital readout models. However, some patients may have trouble working with an arm cuff and/or the dial so other types of devices should be considered. Whichever device you choose check your readings against the numbers you get at your doctor's office. Just like weight scales, equipment can vary. Knowing the differences between your home system and the equipment used at your doctor's office will help you better monitor your blood pressure at home.