Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home?

My doctor just suggested that I buy a device to check my blood pressure at home. He said checking my pressure at home can be better than having him do it in the office. What do you think?

Answer (Published 4/29/2005)

In December 2004 the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific statement explaining that blood pressure measurements taken by doctors in their offices may actually be unreliable in many patients and that at-home monitoring can give you a better idea of your pressure and even your risk of heart disease.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Heart Health - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Heart Health - Keep your heart healthy with small changes to your diet and lifestyle. Learn more - start your free trial of the Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide today for access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid and get 14 days free!

Of course, you want to be sure that blood pressure readings you get at home are correct. You can now buy reliable automated electronic devices to check your pressure - they cost between $50 and $100 dollars and are available at almost any drug store. The AHA recommended taking the device into the doctor's office to check it against the blood pressure measurement you get there. Many fire stations will also check your blood pressure as a courtesy.

Your blood pressure can vary a lot depending on whether it is taken at home when you're relaxed or at the doctor's office when you may be anxious - a phenomenon called "white-coat hypertension." To find out what it is normally, it is best to check it at regular intervals, and at various times of the day and night when you're going about your normal activities. The idea is to keep a log of your readings to show your doctor during your next appointment. I suggest taking it three or four times a day. If you have white-coat hypertension, your log over a month or so will reveal the difference between your average blood pressure at home and at the doctor's. You also can get a blood pressure reading in the doctor's office that is lower than your normal pressure, which is another good reason to monitor your pressure at home.

Since high blood pressure generally doesn't cause symptoms, monitoring it is the only way to know if you have it. If it is higher than it should be then you and your doctor will know that you need to make lifestyle changes or take medication to bring your pressure down. Lifestyle changes should always include relaxation training, such as biofeedback or breath work.

Finally, keeping track of your pressure at home can also help motivate you to make the necessary lifestyle changes or take the medication you need to keep it in the normal range.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Want to learn more about aging gracefully? Join Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging today!

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here