Why keep a blood pressure journal?
One blood pressure measurement is like a snapshot. It only tells what your blood pressure is at that moment. A record of readings taken over time provides a “ time-lapse” picture of your blood pressure that can help you partner with your physician to ensure that your treatments to lower high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) are working.
The American Heart Association recommends home monitoring for all people with high blood pressure to help the healthcare provider determine whether treatments are working. Home monitoring (self-measured blood pressure) is not a substitute for regular visits to your physician. If you have been prescribed medication to lower your blood pressure, don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor, even if your blood pressure readings are in the normal range during home monitoring.
Choosing a home blood pressure monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep (upper-arm) monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits — measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
Once you’ve purchased your monitor, bring it to your next appointment
Have your doctor check to see that you are using it correctly and getting the same results as the equipment in the office. Plan to bring your monitor in once a year to make sure the readings are accurate.
Watch the video to learn how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly.