Blood pressure monitoring is something that for many of us exists only in a clinical setting. However, when it comes to getting the “big picture” of your blood pressure, sometimes you have to step outside the doctor’s office, literally.
When your primary care physician or cardiologist is looking to get a complete picture of your blood pressure levels, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) can be a useful tool.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a blood pressure test that you take with you. You’ll wear a blood pressure measurement device for 24-hours, including while you sleep.
The device will monitor your blood pressure throughout the day and night, approximately every 30 minutes. At the end of the testing period, your doctor will review all the readings to determine how your blood pressure levels correlate with your daily activities and sleep patterns.
There are a variety of reasons why your doctor or cardiologist would suggest an ambulatory blood pressure test. It is a better predictor of cardiovascular outcomes. Ambulatory BP monitoring can detect abnormal changes in BP that might go unnoticed when it’s only measured in the doctor’s office.
Can detect changes in BP that might go unnoticed when it’s only measured in the doctor’s office. In some instances, ABPM may determine these readings are due to white coat hypertension.
Another potential reason is your doctor may suspect that your office readings are lower. In this instance, ABPM would reveal masked hypertension, meaning your blood pressure readings are higher outside the doctor’s office or may be elevated while you sleep.
The Big Picture
When it comes to blood pressure readings, office tests are good, but ABPM removes any doubt. If taken during an average day it can accurately allow medical professionals to diagnose hypertension or other blood pressure related conditions. An ambulatory blood pressure test can also help determine if a patient would benefit from antihypertensive drugs.
While any sort of medical testing can feel overwhelming, ABPM is an incredibly simple way to determine and improve your blood pressure levels. Even better, diagnosing and treating hypertension can improve your overall health.
If you think you may benefit from ABPM, speak with your doctor. They can help you determine the best and healthiest course of action for you.