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A blood pressure test is performed to measure your blood pressure over a prolonged period of time, usually 24 hours. The aim is to monitor your blood pressure and to identify at what times, or during which activities, sudden changes in blood pressure occur.
A blood pressure monitoring test involves wearing a blood pressure cuff fitted with a measuring device that records blood pressure levels throughout the day, even while you sleep, if necessary.
The cuff is placed on your least dominant arm, and is then connected to a small device, similar in size and shape to a radio cassette, which can be attached to your belt or carried in your pocket. The device can be perfectly concealed under clothing and you must wear it at all times and perform your normal activities. The device reads your blood pressure every 15 to 20 minutes during periods of activity and every 30 minutes during sleep.
When the test is complete, the device is removed and the frequencies recorded are read by a computer. The cardiologist usually extracts a graph from these frequencies for observation.
The aim of the blood pressure monitoring test is to monitor your blood pressure throughout a normal day.
No specific preparation is required for this test, since the aim is to record your activity on a normal day. Therefore, you should perform the same activities as usual, take your usual medication and avoid strenuous physical exercise or activities that make you particularly nervous or stressed. The cardiologist may also ask you to write down the medications you take and the activities you do on the day of the test.
Blood pressure monitoring is a completely painless test, during which you will only feel the discomfort of wearing the monitoring device with the cuff on your arm all day and night.
If abnormal results are obtained from the blood pressure monitoring test, this means that your blood pressure is irregular or is at abnormally high levels (hypertension) or abnormally low levels (hypotension). In any case, the cardiologist will analyse the results, identify the cause and prescribe a treatment for stabilising your blood pressure.