Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?

Blood pressure measurements that are higher at your home than at your health care provider's office could be caused by an error in measuring your blood pressure at home. It also might be due to a decrease in your stress level at your provider's office.

Having lower blood pressure measurements at a medical office than at home is called masked hypertension. Masked hypertension can occur if a calm, quiet environment at your provider's office is less stressful than your home environment. Use of alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes at home also can increase blood pressure.

However, some people feel more stress and anxiety when visiting a health care provider. Having higher blood pressure at a medical office than at your home is called white-coat hypertension.

Be sure that your home blood pressure monitor is accurate and that you're using the correct technique. If you're not sure, ask your health care provider. You may be asked to bring the home blood pressure monitor to your next appointment. You may measure your blood pressure in one arm with the home monitor while your provider measures your blood pressure in the other arm with the office equipment.

Some people consistently get different blood pressure readings outside a medical office — even when blood pressure is measured correctly and repeatedly. If your home blood pressure readings are accurate and consistently higher than those at your provider's office, you might be at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your health care provider will likely manage your blood pressure based on the higher readings.

Last Updated Mar 23, 2023

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