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New Video from Harvard Medical School: Dos and Don'ts of Checking Blood Pressure at Home, from the Harvard Heart Letter
Date:9/9/2008

Blood pressure readings jump around so much that you are more likely to get an accurate reading if you check it at home rather than in the doctor's office, reports the September 2008 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Boston (Vocus) September 9, 2008 -- Your blood pressure changes from hour to hour, sometimes minute to minute. Standing up from a chair, watching an exciting show, eating a meal, or being stressed -- perhaps because of a visit to the doctor -- all influence your blood pressure. Blood pressure readings jump around so much that you are more likely to get an accurate reading if you check it at home rather than in the doctor's office, reports the September 2008 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

The idea underlies a new recommendation from the American Heart Association urging individuals with www.health.harvard.edu/heart [high blood pressure] or at high risk for developing it to become do-it-yourselfers, for a number of reasons:

Find your real blood pressure: In some individuals, the doctor's office snapshot tells the whole story and is an excellent approximation of their usual pressure. In others, it isn't.

Track your progress: Checking your blood pressure at home lets you know whether your lifestyle changes and medications are having their desired effects.

Save time and medications: Home measurement may mean fewer trips to the doctor's office. If you have "white-coat" www.health.harvard.edu/heart [hypertension] -- a rise in blood pressure when you go to the doctor -- it may also mean taking fewer medications.

Watch the video

If you choose to measure your blood pressure at home, technique matters. A free instruct
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