Some patients take their blood pressure at home because they have concerns about potential high blood pressure. Others take it because they are vested in their health and just want to keep an eye on their blood pressure. More commonly, however, people take their blood pressure at home because their healthcare provider has asked them to create a blood pressure log or written record of their blood pressure over time.
Here are a few of the reasons that a provider might want a blood pressure log:
- Your in-office blood pressures may have been “up and down”, with some normal readings and some higher ones. Your provider may suspect high blood pressure and want to know for sure before prescribing medication.
- You may already be on blood pressure medication and your provider may want to know how well the medication is working.
- Your provider may want to check that the dose of blood pressure medication you are taking is at the right level.
- Your provider may want to check to see if your lifestyle changes are working.
- Your provider may suspect that your high blood pressure readings in the office are due to “white coat syndrome”, which occurs when a patient’s blood pressure goes up simply as a reaction to being in a clinical setting.
- Your provider may suspect that you have “masked” high blood pressure, which is the opposite of “white coat syndrome”. This occurs when a patient’s blood pressure goes down as a reaction to being in a clinical setting.
Regardless of your motivation, taking your blood pressure at home is a step forward in taking ownership of your own health. Creating a blood pressure log makes you more likely to spot a problem sooner, empowering you to do something about it before it gets “out of hand”.