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How Often Should I Check My Blood Pressure?

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
October 5, 2018
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Different people with varying levels of blood pressure control will all have different needs. Someone who has had a history of heart disease, heart attack or stroke may need to check more often, for example, but others with low risk and stable blood pressure may only need to keep an eye on the trend. Here are some common recommendations from the experts.

Since blood pressure tends to rise and fall given different situations - exercise, a good tv show, stress, fever, infection, or eating a large meal, it‘s important to never just rely on one reading per week. This oftentimes doesn't give you a clear picture of just how high, or how low your blood pressure may be. To let your doctor better understand your readings and prescribe medications appropriate to your specific needs, they need to see more numbers.

Once we have some idea of how your blood pressure trends at rest, and those numbers are stable, then we can switch to a different schedule for checking or a reduced frequency, depending on your blood pressure trend analysis.

To Start - Getting To Know Your Baseline

To establish a baseline blood pressure and see your blood pressure range when you are most calm, we recommend starting off by taking 2 measurements first thing in the morning, spaced 1 minute apart, and 2 measurements in the evening before dinner, spaced 1 minute apart, for one weeks.

Its typically recommended that if you've had a medication or lifestyle change, or if you are new to monitoring, that we establish your baseline blood pressure. -- Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE

What's Next?

Depending on the doctor and care team's suggestions, you may reduce how often you check, or check at different times of the day. Here are some common suggested checking pattern and who should be following

4 Measurements Daily - Take baseline (fasting) BP + midday BP + Evening pre-dinner BP+ bedtime or middle of the night BP

  • If your blood pressure is unstable, or
  • If your have recent medication change, or
  • If you are taking 4 medications or more for blood pressure control, or
  • If you have elevated or rising fasting blood pressure readings.

2 Measurements Daily - Take 1 baseline BP + 1 bedtime BP

  • If your average blood pressure is in hypertension stage 2 range, or
  • If your blood pressure readings are in hypertension stage 1 or below, but it's rising, or
  • If you or your doctor is considering starting or adjusting blood pressure medication.

1 Measurements Daily - Take 1 baseline BP in the morning

  • If your blood pressure is stable at hypertension stage 1 or below

Minimal Checking Schedule - Take 1 baseline BP, 4-5 days a week

  • If you are not ready for checking daily

Getting Bored with Checking at the Same Time Each Day?

If your blood pressure is stable at hypertension stage 1 or below, please continue to check daily in the morning to have an idea of your standards from week to week. You can also try the following checking schedule if you would like to see your blood pressure at different times of the day or of the week:

  • Mornings, 4 times per week, and
  • 3 times per week before dinner (or as otherwise directed by your doctor)
  • Some combination of weekday and weekend days may be helpful.

After the first 1-2 weeks of monitoring, you'll now have an idea of how your body is reacting overall, and a better average. Next, you can get an idea of what types of thoughts and activities may raise blood pressure and by how much. This can also clue you in on how to predict and prevent high blood pressures in the future.

Maintenance Mode (Problem-Solving Mode)- Now We Learn

There is research suggesting that blood pressure is higher on days when there is more to be done- housework, going to work, or even simply, Mondays.

Figuring out what makes your blood pressure higher may help you discover ways to lower it. As part of a regular routine, try checking:

  • One weekend morning (slow days), and
  • One weekday morning (busy days), and
  • One weekday before dinner (busy days)
  • Two weekend readings- beginning of the weekend, and end of the weekend (or before your workweek starts).

Checking blood pressure is a great way to see how hard your heart is working and how relaxed your blood vessels are dilating and constricting to control blood pressure. The more elastic your vasculature is, the more controlled your blood pressure will likely be.

Did we spark your curiosity, yet? Check your blood pressure and ask us a question on the UnifiedCare app!

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