Harvard Heart Letter

Checking blood pressure: Do try this at home

Home monitoring makes sense if you have high blood pressure.

Your blood pressure changes from hour to hour, sometimes even minute to minute. Standing up from a chair, watching an exciting show on television, eating a meal, listening to soothing music, being stressed "" even the time of day "" influence your blood pressure. It jumps around so much that you are more likely to get a "normal" reading if you check it at home rather than in the doctor's office.

That idea underlies a recommendation from the American Heart Association (AHA), American Society of Hypertension, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (Hypertension, July 2008). They urge individuals with high blood pressure, or at high risk for developing it, to become blood pressure do-it-yourselfers. There are many good reasons to follow their advice:

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