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What's the most accurate way to check blood pressure? Dr. Mallika Marshall answers your questions

What's the most accurate way to check blood pressure?
What's the most accurate way to check blood pressure? 00:59

BOSTON - Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your medical questions. If you have a question, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dan writes, "My doctor wants me to check my blood pressure every morning. I took my home blood pressure monitor to the doctor's office and it was 20 points off. How can I tell which is more accurate? I really need to know if my blood pressure meds need to change."

The most accurate blood pressure reading is one that is taken manually (without an automated machine) by a nurse or doctor. But home blood pressure monitors can be very helpful in determining trends. They may not provide a perfect measurement but can tell you if your blood pressure, over time, is trending up or trending down. That can be very helpful when deciding whether blood pressure medications are working or not.

And remember, your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, so even at the doctor's office, your blood pressure may vary depending on when it's measured, whether you had to climb stairs to get there, whether you're feeling nervous, or whether you've taken your blood pressure medications beforehand or not.  

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.     

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