Measuring blood pressure correctly: this should be taken into account when measuring at home

Measuring blood pressure correctly: this should be taken into account when measuring at home

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Blood pressure measurement at home is more important than when visiting a doctor

Almost every third person in Germany suffers from high blood pressure (hypertension). A blood pressure measurement is required to determine an increased blood pressure. Experts from the German High Pressure League (DHL) explain who should do this when and how often.

As written in the ESC / ESH guidelines on the subject of high blood pressure, self-measurement of blood pressure at home is more effective than measurement in the doctor's office. The measurement at home enables a more coherent overall picture, more reliably indicates organ damage caused by blood pressure and promotes adherence to therapy in hypertension sufferers.

Every third person in Germany has high blood pressure

Around 25 million people in Germany have high blood pressure. The strongest risk factors include age, overweight, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption and a high-salt diet. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to life-threatening vascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and / or heart failure. As the German Hypertension League emphasizes, early and consistent treatment of hypertension could prevent around every second heart disease.

Less well known consequences of high blood pressure

In addition to the more well-known effects on the heart, hypertension also increases the risk of kidney failure, retinal changes and, according to recent findings, dementia. According to DHL, self-monitoring of blood pressure is the recommended method for monitoring therapy on the one hand and for detecting unknown high blood pressure through sporadic checks on the other.

Healthy people should also know their blood pressure

According to the recommendations of the current guidelines, healthy people should also measure their blood pressure every now and then. Those who have no conspicuous values ​​should therefore carry out a control measurement every five years. For people with values ​​in the upper normal range, the measurement should be carried out at shorter intervals.

When should hypertension sufferers measure their blood pressure?

The ESC / ESH guidelines recommend that those with hypertension measure their blood pressure in the morning and evening at least three days before the next visit to the doctor. It is better to extend this period to six to seven days. This gives doctors more reliable information about possible organ damage, such as an abnormally enlarged heart muscle or an enlarged left ventricle.

Self-measurement leads to more discipline

The self-measurement at home also allows a better assessment of the cardiovascular complication rate. In addition, therapies are better followed by regular measurements. "It is often very impressive for the patients when they see the immediate effect on blood pressure values ​​if the tablet is forgotten the day before," emphasizes Professor Dr. Peter Trenkwalder, the deputy chairman of the board of the German Hypertension League.

When to go to the doctor's office for high blood pressure

According to the German Hypertension League, people with whom the values ​​are at or above 135/85 mm Hg after repeated sporadic measurements should consult their general practitioner. The advantage of self-measurement is also shown here, since in practice individual measurements do not have to be rated as worrying if the values ​​are still below 140/90 mm Hg and previous self-measurements were lower. Patients are often slightly agitated with such measurements, so a possible cause for a slight increase.

Masked high blood pressure

A particularly difficult form to diagnose, according to DHL, is so-called masked hypertension. Here, for example, there is only increased blood pressure during sleep or during work, which is often not recognized. "In some patients, very high values ​​can occur in places," warns Professor Trenkwalder. Here, only a 24-hour blood pressure measurement could provide an exact diagnosis. Those affected receive a blood pressure cuff in the doctor's office that measures blood pressure every 15 to 30 minutes over a period of 24 hours.

Use tested measuring devices

"The German Hypertension League advocates that a 24-hour blood pressure measurement should be carried out for all patients, if possible, to ensure initial diagnosis," said Professor Trenkwalder. For normal measurements at home, the German High Pressure League recommends using measuring devices that have the DHL® seal of approval.

Sometimes a second measurement is useful

The colleagues from the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA) also recommend that you sometimes take two measurements in a row. Those affected should first come to rest before the first measurement. If the values ​​are increased, a second or a third measurement should be carried out at intervals of one to two minutes.

For more information, read the article: "Hypertension: Second measurement is extremely important when measuring blood pressure!"

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • German high pressure league: "Know your pressure" - measure blood pressure correctly (accessed: November 22, 2019),
  • Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA): Hypertension: only take the second measured value seriously (access: November 22, 2019),

Video: How Blood Pressure Readings Work (July 2022).


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