What is 24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) measures your blood pressure over the course of a full day (24 hours). You will wear a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm that is connected to a monitor. The monitor records your blood pressure readings 3 times per hour while awake and 1 time per hour while sleeping.
Why Monitor Blood Pressure for 24 hours?
Measuring your blood pressure in your normal environment and during your usual daily routines gives your doctor a better idea of how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. Some reasons for having ABPM:
* White coat hypertension: high blood pressure in clinic settings (around medical staff or doctors) with lower blood pressure outside of clinic.
* High blood pressure without a diagnosis of hypertension: blood pressure may be high sometimes and more blood pressure measurements are needed.
* Hypertension medicine assessment: to make sure your blood pressure medicines are working as they should all day.
* Assess symptoms – such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or headaches, to check if these are due to blood pressure.
The Blood Pressure Monitor
The monitor is a small box that connects to the cuff on your arm. The monitor remains in a black pouch throughout the day. You may wear it with a belt to keep it up on your side and out of the way. During the measurement, the monitor screen will be black and will not display any blood pressure readings.
Important Reminders and Tips
* When the cuff inflates and you feel the cuff tightening, stop what you are doing and remain as still as possible (without putting yourself at risk). This allows the cuff to sense your blood pressure accurately. Extend your arm, and relax. If you are walking or standing, remain standing and drop the arm with the cuff to your side.
* Avoid vigorous physical activity, such as jogging/running, biking outdoors, lawn mowing, etc, while wearing the blood pressure monitor.
* If the monitor misses a reading, you will feel the cuff inflate again in 1-2 minutes to try another reading.
* When you are ready for bed, remove the cord from around your neck and place the monitor by your side. It should be placed far enough away so you do not roll on it.
* Showering: do not wear the monitor into the shower/bath. Remove the cuff from your upper arm and set aside. Do not disconnect anything or push any buttons on the monitor. After your shower, place the cuff back on your upper arm as described below.