The People’s Pharmacy reports a study in which home blood pressure measurements are more accurate than those measured in the office. If you have hypertension, you likely have faced a situation in which your blood pressure during an office visit is above target and your doctor recommends increasing your antihypertensive medication or suggests adding another one.

I have this occur in my patients on a regular basis and, recently, have begun the practice of having the patient measure their pressures for 7 to 10 days and send them to me before making a decision to change medication. This study supports that practice.

Why is this such a frequent occurrence? What was once called “white coat” hypertension is really an almost universal phenomenon that occurs in patients; i.e., their blood pressure goes up, temporarily, when they face tense or stressful situations. This does not mean that you need to be treated for hypertension, unless your pressures demonstrate a repetitive string of elevated levels.

So, the next time you’re in the office, if you have an elevated blood pressure, I suggest that you discuss this further and offer to measure and report your home blood pressure measurements to your doctor.