Monitoring blood pressure at home can help keep it from rising and may help reduce the need for medication. A recently published analysis of 37 international clinical trials, compiling data on more than 9,400 men and women with high blood pressure, showed that patients asked by their physicians to track their blood pressure with home monitors were more successful in reducing their pressure than patients who had readings done only in the doctor’s office.
The researchers who performed the analysis noted that home monitoring appeared to work better as part of a general plan that included adjusting medications in response to the home readings. Interestingly, what worked best was telemonitoring – the use of wired or wireless technology to send blood pressure readings directly to the doctor’s office.
One possible explanation for the lower readings seen at home is elimination of the “white coat” effect – the increase in pressure triggered by the stress of being in the doctor’s office.