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Home Blood Pressure Test

Blood pressure is displayed on a circular dial with a needle. As the pressure in the cuff rises, the needle moves clockwise on the dial. As the cuff pressure falls, the needle moves counterclockwise. As the cuff pressure falls, the reading on the gauge when blood flow is first heard is the systolic pressure. The reading on the gauge when blood flow can no longer be heard is the diastolic pressure.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitors

An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a small device that is worn throughout the day, usually for 24 or 48 hours. The device takes your blood pressure automatically.

Your doctor might recommend this monitor if he or she thinks you have white-coat (or office) hypertension or if other methods do not give consistent results.

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High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home

Why It Is Done

Home blood pressure monitoring measures your blood pressure at different times and in different places (such as at home and at work) during the day. It may be done to:

  • Find out if you have high blood pressure.
  • Keep track of how well medicine taken to reduce blood pressure is working.
  • Check how lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, are affecting blood pressure. Home monitoring can help people feel more involved in and more in control of their own health care.
  • Watch for changes in blood pressure that may be side effects of medicines.
  • Check for problems with high blood pressure during pregnancy or with preeclampsia. To learn more, see the topic Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is often used if there is a big difference between the blood pressure readings you get at home and your readings in your doctor's office.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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