Checking your blood pressure regularly is important, but where do you get the best blood pressure reading? At home or at your clinic?
Whenever you go for a checkup at your doctor’s office, the first thing they do is measure your blood pressure (BP). While this may tell you what your current levels are, it turns out that taking multiple readings over a day and averaging them can give more accurate results.
According to Beverly B. Green, MD, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, one or two measurements at the doctor’s may not accurately reflect your average BP. Moreover, she says that average BP is the only way to accurately diagnose and treat high blood pressure (hypertension). In a new study, Green and her colleagues show that at-home monitoring may give more reliable measurements.
Measuring at Home
Almost 1 in 4 U.S. adults with hypertension don’t know they have it and are not getting the treatment they need. According to current guidelines, if a patient gets a high blood pressure reading, they need to check it again to confirm the results. While some doctors choose to take the second reading at the clinic, Green’s study shows that at-home measurements may be more accurate.
“Home blood pressure monitoring was a better option because it was more accurate [than clinic blood pressure readings]”, says Green. She also points to a companion study that suggests patients prefer taking their BP at home.
In the study, researchers found participants with high risk for hypertension and randomly assigned them different places for their follow-up reading: the clinic, at home, or at clinic or pharmacy kiosks. The participants were also given a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABPM).
According to their results, researchers show that participants’ systolic BP readings at clinics were generally lower than their ABPM readings. As a result, more than 50% of hypertension cases went undiagnosed. They also found that kiosk readings tended to over-diagnose hypertension, with the readings being much higher than ABPM measurements.
According to Green, this study offers the most powerful evidence of the benefits of at-home monitoring. “The study indicates that assisting patients with getting access to valid blood pressure readings so they can measure their blood pressure at home will give a better picture of the true burden of [high blood pressure],” says Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, a cardiologist at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
Since high blood pressure can show up without symptoms, it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly and accurately. In addition, you can give your health a boost by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus.
Its ingredients are effective at promoting circulation, blood pressure health, cholesterol health, and more. If you’re ready to support your blood pressure health, then measure your BP at home and take L-arginine Plus for an extra health boost.