Blood pressure measured in my office can be different from blood pressure people may have when they are at home or at work. In order to figure out how much of a problem someone’s blood pressure is we frequently need them to monitor it on their own. Below are some common situations where I recommend people check their blood pressure.
1) If the diagnosis is unclear. Patients sometimes blame an elevated blood pressure reading on “white coat syndrome” – in other words it is just up because they are in my office but it is really ok the rest of the time. While sometimes this is true, I really hope that coming to see me isn’t the most stressful part of their life. If their blood pressure is up when they see me, I frequently wonder what it is when they get home at the end of a long day!
2) Sometimes people have concerns like headaches – which can be related to blood pressure – or a number of other health issues. If they have a headache and check their blood pressure we can see if these problems are related or not.
3) When someone has a diagnosis of hypertension – they can see how their blood pressure is between visits and how it is influenced by different things in their life like stress, smoking, weight loss/gain and also how their blood pressure is in between doctor visits . Hypertension is a chronic health problem – and like all chronic health problems – people tend to do better when they are actively involved with their own care. If someone monitors their blood pressure and is seeing that it isn’t where we want it to be then they can let me know and we can figure out what the next steps are instead of waiting for their next scheduled visit.
***Note *** This post, like all my other posts, is for general medical information only and is not to be taken as direct advice. Please consult your personal physician for more information.