24 hour blood pressure monitor (or an ambulatory blood pressure monitor) is a device that records blood pressure at regular intervals throughout the day. It’s mostly used in diagnosing hypertension, but anyone can buy one. It’s often used by doctors to gather more detailed information about patient’s blood pressure.
What is a 24 hour blood pressure monitor and how does it work?
It’s a small device, worn on the belt. The blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your arms and worn under clothes, so no one will notice that you’re wearing the monitor. This device works fairly easy it records your systolic and diastolic blood pressure regularly (every 2 to 30 minutes) and stores the data in its internal memory. After a day (usually) there is enough data gathered, so now it’s time to interpret it. To do that the information from the mobile BP monitor is transferred to a computer. Now, the doctor (or you), with help from a computer program, is able to visualize the results and interpret it.
Why doctors use ambulatory blood pressure monitors?
There are several reasons why doctors decide that there is a need to monitor someone’s blood pressure for 24 hours. The first one is called white coat hypertension (or white coat syndrome). It manifests by the fact that some people show elevated blood pressure while visiting a doctor. In any other circumstances their blood pressure is perfectly normal. Because of that, there is a risk, that someone who doesn’t suffer from hypertension might by falsely diagnosed.
Another case is when an ambulatory blood pressure monitor is extremely useful is when the prescribed medications don’t seem to work.That’s the time when the doctor needs more data to diagnose your condition. The 24 hour monitor is also great to get to know how your body responds to certain meds (not necessarily those related to blood pressure issues).
The mobile blood pressure monitor is also very useful to simply confirm the diagnosis. It allows to register changes in blood pressure throughout the day, particularly the overnight dipping and the morning surge. That data obviously cannot be gathered while in the doctor’s office. When it comes to high blood pressure, the causes and effects might vary. Doctor might be uncertain with his first diagnosis, so he needs more data to confirm or deny his conjectures.
Do I need a mobile blood pressure monitor?
For most of us having a 24 hour blood pressure monitor seems to be an exaggeration. If, however, someone is suffering from high blood pressure, this device might come very useful to monitor one’s BP. For the rest of us, having a home blood pressure monitor is recommended. Please note that you cannot notice that your blood pressure is elevated, unless you measure it. Most people don’t visit their doctors often, so they won’t be able to immediately notice high blood pressure.
High blood pressure might lead to stroke or even a heart attack. Because of that, it’s extremely important to diagnose hypertension as early as possible. The sooner the high blood pressure is diagnosed, the sooner the treatment can be started. Sometimes issues with blood pressure are complicated and even a qualified cardiologist might need some additional data. When that happens, a 24 hour blood pressure monitor is needed.