24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring
By measuring your blood pressure at regular 30-60 minute intervals over 24-hours, your doctor will obtain clear pictures of how your blood pressure changes throughout the day.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is a measure of the amount of work that your hearts need to do to pump blood around your body. Blood pressure is measured as two figures (eg.140/90mmHg).
Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – is a measure of how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – is a measure of how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Why is it important to monitor your blood pressure regularly?
Prolonged periods of excessively raised high blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels which happens without any physical symptoms.
When your blood pressure is raised for long periods of time, your risk of heart attack, stroke and other complications increases. This can also contribute to heart failure, kidney failure and poor circulation in your legs.
As a result, it is important to regularly monitor your blood pressure levels to prevent any damage to your blood vessels and reduce your risk of serious complications without ever even knowing it.
It is estimated that over 50% of adults aged over 45 in Ireland have high blood pressure. Due to the silent nature of raised blood pressure, it is estimated that about 80% of men and two in every three women do not even realize they have high blood pressure and are not receiving any treatment for it which leaves them at risk of various complications.
How does 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) work?
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) is different to the walk-in blood pressure check that your GP or Pharmacist might do when you pay them a visit. With ABPM, your blood pressure is measured as you move around, living your normal daily life and is normally done over a 24-hour period.
The ABPM uses a small digital blood pressure machine that is attached to a belt around your body and connected to a cuff around your upper arm. It is small enough that you can go about your normal daily life and even sleep with it on.
Your doctor will obtain a much more accurate measurement of your blood pressure because it reads your blood pressure every 30 minutes or so over the 24 hour period. You will be provided with a detailed report showing the changes in your blood pressure over the 24-hour period. This report can then be brought to your GP to analyse the implications of your reading.
ABPM provides a much more accurate reflection of your true blood pressure levels than the walk-in service which really only provides a snapshot of where your blood pressure at that current moment. As blood pressure changes throughout the day in response to a number of different factors, it is much better to measure your blood pressure over a longer period of time.