Research-Backed: Why Home BP Measurement is a Good Idea!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Why Home BP Measurement is a Good Idea
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other chronic disease requires you to do multiple things – track vitals, take medicines & stay on top of your health at all times. If this overwhelms you, switch to Phable – India’s No. 1 BP & Sugar Management App to manage your condition better. Take charge of your health and stay connected with doctors, order medicines and do a whole lot more from the comfort of your home.

Healthcare is slowly moving out of hospitals and into homes. Why then, should you go out for something as simple as getting your blood pressure measured? Here’s how you can measure your blood pressure at home, and why home BP measurement is a good idea.

Contents:
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    What is Blood Pressure?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
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    Home BP Measurement
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Benefits of BP Measurement at Home
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
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    FAQs
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What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure (BP) is defined as the force exerted by blood on the walls of your arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to other parts of the body). With each heartbeat, your heart pumps blood into your arteries. 

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure reading consists of 2 numbers:
  • Systolic Blood Pressure: The top number indicates the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure: The bottom number indicates the pressure in your blood vessels between the beats.
Your blood pressure may vary throughout the day depending on your activities. When your blood pressure is constantly high or low over a period of time, you will be diagnosed with high blood pressure or low blood pressure. You can measure your BP and compare your reading with this table to know if your BP is high, low, or normal.
Blood Pressure Category Systolic (mm Hg) and/or Diastolic (mm Hg)
Low Less than 90 and/or  Less than 60
Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80
Elevated 120 to 129 and Less than 80
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 1) 130 to 139 or 80 to 89
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 2) 140 or higher or 90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis Higher than 180 and/or Higher than 120
Source: American Heart Association and the UK National Health Service
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Home BP Measurement

The device used to measure your blood pressure is called a sphygmomanometer. Digital BP monitors have gained a lot of usage in the past few years and made home BP measurement easy and accessible. 

The majority of digital BP monitors are upper arm devices, although wrist BP measuring devices are also widely available. Upper arm digital BP monitors usually consist of a monitor and an arm cuff.  

You can find the steps to measure your BP at home using an upper arm digital BP monitor here

Benefits of BP Measurement at Home

The two major ways of checking blood pressure are: measurement of blood pressure by a doctor or nurse in a clinical setting (office BP measurement) and self-measured blood pressure at home (home BP measurement).

So what are the benefits of self-monitoring blood pressure? Home BP measurement is a reliable option for individuals with white-coat hypertension or masked hypertension.

In white-coat hypertension, individuals experience higher than usual blood pressure when measured at the doctor’s office but not in other settings such as at home.

In masked hypertension, individuals have normal blood pressure at the doctor’s office but increased blood pressure in different settings out of the office. 

Several studies suggest that home BP measurement is reliable and is a good indicator of cardiovascular health. Home blood pressure monitoring allows you to monitor your BP frequently and share the results with your doctor.

Let’s have a look at certain advantages of home BP monitoring over office BP monitoring:

Home-Measured Blood Pressure is a Stronger Predictor of Cardiovascular Mortality Than Screening Blood Pressure

In this study published in 1998, home and screening blood pressure measurements were obtained for around 1700 subjects aged over 40 years. Home blood pressure was measured using an Omron BP monitor. The individuals were followed up for a mean period of 6.6 years. 

As per this study, “Home blood pressure measurement had a stronger predictive power for mortality than did screening blood pressure measurement for a general population.

Home-Measured Blood Pressure is a Stronger Predictor of Stroke Than Office Blood Pressure

In this study published in 2004, more than 14 readings of home-measured BP were obtained from around 1400 people aged more than 40 years. Home blood pressure was measured using an Omron BP monitor. These individuals did not have a history of stroke and were followed up after a mean period of 10.6 years. 

As per this study, “There was no threshold for the number of home blood pressure measurements within the range of 1–14 measurements for increasing the predictive power of stroke risk, suggesting that as many measurements as possible, preferably more than 14 measurements, is recommended for better prediction of stroke risk. It should be emphasized that home blood pressure has a stronger predictive power than does conventional blood pressure, even for a lower number of measurements.”

Home-Measured Blood Pressure is a Stronger Predictor of Cardiovascular Risk Than Office Blood Pressure

In this study published in 2010, more than 2000 individuals were subjected to measurement of BP in an office setting and home setting. Home blood pressure was measured using an Omron BP monitor. The study investigated whether home-measured BP is more strongly associated with cardiovascular (CV) events and total mortality when compared to office BP. 

As per this study, “home and office BP are both predictive of overall CV events. However, home BP values provide prognostic information about CV risk and total mortality above and beyond that of office BP, even with a low number of measurements.”

Omron blood pressure monitors are proven to be accurate. All Omron BP monitors:

  • Meet the highest standards of precision and reliability from organisations such as AAMI or ESH
  • Are powered by the Intellisense® Technology, which can automatically personalise the cuff inflation to ensure fast, accurate, and comfortable BP measurement.
  • Are clinically validated to be within +/- 3 mm Hg for blood pressure readings. 

You can buy Omron BP monitors here

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Blood pressure (BP) is the force exerted by blood on the walls of your arteries. It is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). When your blood pressure is constantly high or low over a period of time, you may be diagnosed with high or low blood pressure.
  • Normal blood pressure is less than or equal to 120/80 mm Hg. A blood pressure of 90/60 mm Hg or lesser is considered to be low blood pressure. A blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered to be high blood pressure. 
  • The two major ways of checking blood pressure are a measurement of blood pressure by a doctor or nurse in a clinical setting (office BP measurement) and self-measured blood pressure at home (home BP measurement).
  • Home BP measurement is a reliable option for individuals with white-coat hypertension or masked hypertension.
  • Studies suggest that home BP measurement is reliable and is a good indicator of cardiovascular health. Home blood pressure monitoring allows you to monitor your BP frequently and share the results with your doctor.
  • Home-measured blood pressure is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular risk, cardiovascular mortality, and stroke than office blood pressure.
  • Digital BP monitors are accurate, provided they have been validated clinically and meet the quality standards set by relevant national or international hypertension organisations. 
  • Omron BP monitors meet the highest standards of precision and reliability, are powered by the Intellisense® Technology, and are clinically validated to be within +/- 3 mm Hg for blood pressure readings. 

Frequently Asked Questions

It is not harmful to take your blood pressure too often, but it is not beneficial either. Small changes in your blood pressure throughout the day are to be expected. So, do not check your blood pressure too often. You may feel stressed about the change in readings if you take it too often.

If you are right-handed, it is advisable to measure your blood pressure on your left arm. However, you can consult your doctor to decide which arm to measure from.

Yes, home BP tests are accurate if the digital BP monitors being used for the measurement of blood pressure have been validated clinically and meet the relevant quality standards. Home-measured blood pressure is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular risk, cardiovascular mortality, and stroke than office blood pressure. These are the reasons why home BP measurement is a good idea. 

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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