Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Information about Home Blood Pressure
You have been asked by your GP to perform home blood pressure monitoring. This is designed to accurately assess your blood pressure over time to either establish a diagnosis of raised blood pressure or monitor control of your blood pressure accurately.
To perform this you will need a blood pressure monitor. You can purchase this from a local pharmacy, and speak to your pharmacist for advice on the appropriate machine or visit the British Hypertension Society website to see a list of approved monitors and prices (http://www.bhsoc.org//index.php?cID=246). Alternatively please speak to our reception staff about being loaned a blood pressure monitor from the surgery.
To gain an accurate picture of your blood pressure you should perform a blood pressure reading (see below) in the morning and evening over 7 days and document an average of the total readings (not counting the 1st days reading). Please see the enclosed table to document these and following completion of 7 days of readings drop this off with our reception staff for the attention of your GP.
Taking a Home Blood pressure reading
To perform a blood pressure at home you should:
- Measure your blood pressure in both arms to determine which arm should be used for future measurements. The arm that gives the higher systolic reading (the top number) should be used for all future testing.
- Place the cuff on your arm with the lower edge of the cuff approximately 2cm above the bend in their elbow. The forearm should be supported on a firm surface and should be level of the lower end of the breast bone.
- No tight or restrictive clothing should be worn around the arm.
- Be seated, remain silent and be at rest for a minimum of five minutes before taking a measurement and you should not have smoked, eaten, drunk a caffeinated drink or undertaken physical activity within the past thirty minutes. You should also avoid measuring blood pressure with a full bladder.
Measurements should be taken in silence, relaxed, with both feet flat on the floor and your back and arm supported. Please avoid crossing your legs, which can raise blood pressure.
- The device should then be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions to produce a blood pressure reading. The manufacturer’s instructions may also provide further specific guidance in relation to the appropriate use of the device.
- This process should be repeated 2-3 times, with a minute between each reading.
- THEN DOCUMENT THE LOWEST OF THE TWO TO THREE READINGS IN THE CHART ATTATCHED TO THIS DOCUMENT.
For more information on how to check your own blood pressure please see:
Leaflet from Blood Pressure UK
Video from British Heart Foundation
What your readings mean
- If your blood pressure is below 140/90 mm Hg at the surgery, it will be considered normal.(targets are lower for patients with diabetes, strokes and heart disease and this will be identified by your GP)
- If your blood pressure is above 140/90mm Hg at the surgery but your average ambulatory or home reading is below 135/85 mm Hg, it will be considered normal.
- If your blood pressure at the surgery is 140/90 mm Hg or above and your average ambulatory or home reading is above 135/85 mm Hg, it will be considered high.
The target for blood pressures are lower for patients with diabetes, strokes and heart disease and this will be identified by your GP.
When should I be immediately worried about BP?
Blood pressure control is about long term control and is rarely a problem with one off high readings. But if your blood pressure is persistently above 180 Systolic (top figure) or 120 Diastolic (lower figure) then you should arrange to see your GP/Nurse.
If your blood pressure is above 180/120 with a severe headache, visual disturbance, breathlessness or confusion you should be seen the same day by your GP.
For further information about blood pressure please see:
Hypertension leaflet from Patient.co.uk