Blood pressure measurements made in the doctor’s surgery are useful but do have some limitations.
They are really only a ‘snapshot’ of your blood pressure and can also be influenced by anxiety (white coat effect). A series of home blood pressures performed using an automatic blood pressure monitor can be helpful and can give useful information.
When making important decisions about blood pressure management and drug treatment however a 24 hour recording is usually considered the most thorough approach. A 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABPM) measures your blood pressure regularly for a 24 hour period. This reduces the ‘white coat effect’ and usually gives more reliable information on which to base decisions. All test results should be treated with caution and interpreted in the context of a clinical assessment.