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Blood Pressure readings: Why higher at home?



My blood pressure measurements at home are always higher than in my doctor's office. Am I doing something wrong?

Answer by Sheldon G. Sheps, MD

Blood pressure measurements that are higher in your home than at the doctor's office, can be caused by a stress drop in the doctor's office or by the doctor making a mistake in measuring your Blood pressure at home.

The inverse, higher blood pressure at your doctor's than at your home is often referred to as white coat hypertension. This means that the stress or anxiety of being in the doctor's office means that your blood pressure is higher than you normally would at home, where you feel more comfortable.

Lower blood pressure measurements in the doctor's office than at home referred to as masked hypertension. Masked high blood pressure can occur when a quiet, quiet environment in the doctor's office is less stressful than the home environment. This leads to lower blood pressure in the doctor's office. Similarly, the use of alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes at home can increase blood pressure.

Make sure your sphygmomanometer is accurate at home and that you are using the correct technique. If you are not sure, ask your doctor. He may ask you to bring the blood pressure monitor home to the office. You can measure your blood pressure in one arm with the home monitor while your doctor measures your blood pressure in the other arm with the office equipment.

However, some people outside the doctor's office are constantly getting other blood pressure readings – even when it's blood pressure is measured correctly and repeatedly. If your blood pressure at home is exactly and consistently higher than your doctor's, your doctor will probably control your blood pressure based on the higher levels.

Updated: 2016-01-26

Release date: 2016-01-26


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