Information for the public
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can be used to measure your average blood pressure when you are going about your usual activities. This helps to make sure that your blood pressure is worked out from measurements that are as accurate as possible.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring measures your blood pressure automatically, wherever you are. The monitor has a cuff that is wrapped around your arm, and is connected to a small device on a belt or strap worn on your body. Your doctor or nurse should make sure that the monitor cuff is the right size for your arm. The monitor should measure your blood pressure twice an hour during your normal waking hours. Your doctor or nurse should use at least 14 of these measurements to work out your average blood pressure.
If you find ambulatory blood pressure monitoring too uncomfortable or inconvenient, you may be offered home blood pressure monitoring instead.
Home blood pressure monitoring uses a device that is similar to the device used by the doctor or nurse to measure your blood pressure in the GP practice or clinic. As with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, your doctor or nurse should make sure that the monitor cuff is the right size for your arm. You should measure your blood pressure twice a day, ideally once in the morning and once in the evening, while you are sitting down. Each time you do this, you should take two readings, 1 minute apart. You should continue to measure your blood pressure twice daily for at least 4 days and ideally for 7 days. Your doctor or nurse should use all the measurements you have taken after the first day to work out your average blood pressure.
Questions you might like to ask your doctor or nurse about blood pressure monitoring
Do I need to be at home to take the measurements?
Can I have a bath or shower when I am wearing an ambulatory blood pressure monitor?
What should I do if I think the ambulatory or home blood pressure monitor isn't working properly?
What should I do if I forget to take a blood pressure reading?
Who should I contact if I need help using the ambulatory or home blood pressure monitor?
Can someone take my blood pressure for me or help me to do it?
Can you give me information to remind me what to do each time?