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High Blood Pressure

Time lapse between consecutive readings

12/07/2007

Question:

I am a labile hypertensive. If I take 2 readings, one on each arm, what is the desirable time lapse between the 2 readins? Also how often do you recommend taking BP readings?

Answer:

Home blood pressures should average less than 135/85 mmHg. (Importantly, home blood pressure monitors should be calibrated in your providers against a mercury or aneuroid machine, even if brand-new before it is used.) There is no need to take the blood pressures in both arms except to establish whether the blood pressures are equal in both arms. If the difference in blood pressure in the two arms is greater than 4 mmHg (after multiple measurements confirmed in your provider's office) blood pressures should be taken in the arm with the highest reading. There are no strict rules on how often home blood pressures should be measured, and this will depend on the circumstances. However, unless blood pressure medications are being titrated, home blood pressures taken about once a week is adequate.

In patients with high blood pressure, readings should taken in the provider's office at least 3-4 times per year and these readings should be less than 140/90 mmHg (less than 130/80 mmHg in patients with diabetes or kidney disease).

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Response by:

Jackson T Wright, MD, PhD, FACP Jackson T Wright, MD, PhD, FACP
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University