HOME BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is now recommending that GPs should offer home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) to people with a clinic BP reading of 140/90 or above. Why the change to home monitoring? It is one of two ways of improving accuracy of both diagnosis and treatment monitoring. It is thought that in up to a quarter of people in the UK, blood pressure rises when measured in the clinic (“white coat” hypertension). In other people, hypertension can be “masked” as their blood pressure falls when measured in the clinic. This therefore makes the diagnosis and monitoring of blood pressure more accurate, avoiding unnecessary medication. If the HBPM shows an average of 135/85 or above, then a diagnosis of hypertension is confirmed. This contrasts with previous guidance in which clinic blood pressure measurement alone was used to confirm hypertension. How to record your blood pressure? For each blood pressure recording (BP), take two consecutive measurements, at least a minute apart, when you are seated. Record your blood pressure twice daily, ideally in the morning and evening. Continue to record your blood pressure for at least 7 days. Discard the measurements taken on the first day. The average value of all the remaining readings will give your average BP. How to purchase a machine? You can purchase a blood pressure monitor from most chemists. They can also be ordered by post or on the internet. If you have a large or small arm, you will need a large or small cuff size respectively.