How and Why You Should Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

Your blood pressure is an important indicator for your overall health. Learn how and why you should be tracking your blood pressure at home.

First, let’s talk about what blood pressure means. As the Cleveland Clinic defines it, “blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure or force of blood inside your arteries.” Your blood pressure may go up or down throughout the day and can be affected by stress, diet and exercise, among other factors.1 Blood pressure is an important indicator for your overall health because it signals how hard your heart is working to pump blood to the rest of your body. The higher your blood pressure, the more wear and tear being placed on your heart and blood vessels.

How high is too high?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans—but only half of those people have their condition under control.2 So, how high is too high? Blood pressure is measured with two numbers: Systolic pressure (SYS), which measures the force of blood on your artery walls when your heart beats, and Diastolic pressure (DIA), which measures the force of blood on your artery walls when your heart is between beats. See the chart below, which details blood pressure categories as listed by Mayo Clinic, including the 'low blood pressure' and 'Hypertensive Crisis' categories.

How do you measure your blood pressure?

The only way to know the level of your blood pressure is to measure it with a blood pressure cuff, which can be done in a medical setting or at home. An at-home blood pressure cuff, like the OMRON Evolv, can take accurate blood pressure measurements from home in seconds.

Here are a few tips for measuring your blood pressure at home:

  1. Rest first. Before you take your blood pressure, sit still for five minutes with both feet on the ground and your legs uncrossed. Place your left arm on a table so that your upper arm is resting at chest height. This will help make sure you are at rest and can get an accurate reading.3
  2. Find your benchmark. Take one or two recordings in the morning and one or two at night. This will help give you an idea of what your “normal” blood pressure is so that you can identify any irregularities should they arise.
  3. Use Kardia. The Kardia app can help you keep track of your blood pressure recordings and symptoms. You’ll get detailed insights on your data that can help you identify patterns or irregularities. Download your data directly from the app and send it to your doctor for review.

Why is at-home blood pressure tracking important?

Tracking your blood pressure at home can help you catch early signs of hypertension, which oftentimes has no other symptoms.4 The sooner you detect high blood pressure, the better, as it can lead to serious heart complications including heart attack and stroke.1

In addition, some people may be nervous or anxious for a doctor’s appointment may increase your blood pressure. This is referred to as “white coat syndrome” and can give incorrect readings of your vitals in a medical setting. Tracking your blood pressure at home can help you get a reading that’s truer to your average day.

And finally, understanding your blood pressure can help give you a better picture of your overall health—especially as it relates to your heart, one of your most important organs. Staying on top of your blood pressure and tracking it every day can help you lead a more heart-healthy lifestyle.