Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a way of measuring and managing high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is a blood pressure test measurement in which the systolic (upper) blood pressure is at or above 140 and the diastolic (lower) blood pressure is at or above 90.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring allows many blood pressure (BP) readings to be recorded over a 24-hour period, whether the patient is awake or asleep. At a doctor’s office or clinic, an instrument called a sphygmomanometer is used to take BP readings. Usually, only one or two readings are taken during a doctor’s visit. However, ambulatory BP monitoring yields many readings over a continuous period.
Blood pressure test of a healthy human lies in the range of 120/80mm of Hg and it is still considered to be normal upto 139/89mm of Hg. Blood pressure test values beyond 140/90mmHg are considered to be High Blood Pressure cases. High blood pressure puts the heart & the arteries under overload and it increases the risk of plaque development (a condition called Atherosclerosis) & thereby increasing future complications.
Sometimes what happens is, a patient gets very nervous in the Doctor’s cabin and his/her blood pressure shoots up, which otherwise could also be normal. This condition is known as the White Coat Hypertension. Because of this condition, diagnosis cannot be made correctly. For reasons like these, a mobile device measuring the patient’s blood pressure at regular intervals is given to the patient. This mobile BP monitor is known as 24 hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor. It is a small digital blood pressure machine that is attached to a belt around your body and which is connected to a cuff around your upper arm. It is so small that you can pursue your day to day activities and your BP will be monitored all day long; even where you are asleep. Sometimes blood pressure of a person is normal in the doctor’s office but as soon as the patient goes home, his BP again shoots. This is also known as Masked Hypertension.
The reason why BP is to be monitor while in sleep is that, it is expected & is normal that our body temperature as well as our BP falls to a certain normal level. In some patients with stress/ hypertension/ anxiety issues, they experience nocturnal panic attack with a shoot the blood pressure. So to monitor if the patient has a normal dip in his/her blood pressure or not, an ambulatory BP monitor is given to him which will monitor his BP for about 24 hours. After keeping a track of blood pressure for 24 hours with all the day to day activities performed, the doctor gets a picture of the diagnosis to be performed.