Self-measurement of blood pressure: everything you need to know


In France in 2023, “12 million adults are being treated for high blood pressure but 5 million are still unaware that they are hypertensive,” underlines Professor Xavier Girerd, president of the Arterial Hypertension Research Foundation.
High blood pressure is the main chronic disease and the leading cause of cardiovascular death in France and around the world. Indeed, if it is not diagnosed or properly treated, this excessively high pressure in the blood vessels causes neurological diseases (stroke/stroke) and cardiological diseases (heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia).

At what rate should you measure your blood pressuire?

Blood pressure should be measured from the age of 20, if a contributing factor is present. This can be being overweight, excessive consumption of foods containing hidden salt such as bread or cheese, family history, and having previously had high blood pressure. For everyone, it is recommended to measure your blood pressure once a year, from the age of 30.

Using an electronic blood pressure monitor

“It is now recommended to use automatic blood pressure monitors (at arm level) to measure blood pressure,” assures the hypertensiologist. This recommendation is shared by experts around the world, whether in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States or Asia. In Europe, automatic blood pressure monitors bearing the CE mark can be used with confidence. » These devices, also called electronic blood pressure monitors, are the ones that display blood pressure values most accurately.

Not one, not two but 3 consecutive measures!

The method used to measure blood pressure follows the recommendations of experts in arterial hypertension, in particular those of the French Society of Arterial Hypertension, the European Society of Cardiology and the High Authority of Health. It includes the use of a validated automatic blood pressure monitor, the placement of the cuff on the arm, the measurement carried out in a seated position without crossing the legs, in a calm environment during a period of rest, without speaking. In addition, three consecutive measurements – always on the same arm – are carried out with a maximum interval of 1 to 2 minutes between each measurement.

This “3 measurements” approach is mainly motivated by the fact that in one in two adults, the third measurement presents a lower pressure than the first. A recent epidemiological study carried out in Canada and which has just been published suggests that the systolic blood pressure of the third measurement is the most precise for assessing cardiovascular risk in an adult.

Systolic pressure represents the force exerted by blood on the artery walls when the heart contracts and pumps blood into the circulation. For its part, diastolic pressure corresponds to the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries when the heart is at rest between two beats: it is the lower figure of the two.

Take your own blood pressure and rules

There are two situations in which a person can measure their blood pressure themselves using an automatic blood pressure monitor. The first situation is to measure blood pressure at least once a year (do the “Measure blood pressure” test) and the second reason is to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension, monitor blood pressure and monitor the effectiveness of treatments (Take the self-measurement test over 3 days).

Watch out for gadgets!

Some new technologies such as “blood pressure monitors” integrated into bracelets, rings, watches, or facial cameras use different approaches than traditional automatic blood pressure monitors. In 2023, hypertension experts still consider these devices gadgets when it comes to blood pressure measurement. They therefore do not recommend them either for the diagnosis of high blood pressure or for its monitoring. Professor Xavier Girerd warns: “An automatic blood pressure monitor is useful, but a connected watch remains a gadget. »

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