Objective: To evaluate the distribution, reference values and day-to-day variation of blood pressure of untreated subjects measured at home.
Design: Cross-sectional study of a cohort.
Setting: General community in northern Japan.
Subjects: Blood pressure was measured in 871 subjects (mean +/- SD age 46.0 +/- 19.5 years, range 7-98, constituting 38.7% of the local population of Uchikawama region, Ohasama) who were not receiving antihypertensive medication.
Methods: Subjects measured their own blood pressure at home at least three times (mean +/- SD 19.7 +/- 8.4) each morning using a semi-automatic oscillometric blood pressure measuring device. Screening blood pressure was measured once.
Main outcome measures: Distribution of home blood pressure in the study population as a whole and with respect to age and sex, and the distribution of day-to-day variation of home blood pressure were determined.
Results: Mean home blood pressure was 117.3 +/- 13.4/69.3 +/- 9.7 mmHg (95% confidence interval 116.4-118.2/68.7-70.0). The 95th centile value was 143/85 mmHg, mean+SD 131/79 mmHg and mean + 2SD 144/89 mmHg. Mean screening blood pressure was 126.2 +/- 18.9/72.1 +/- 11.7 mmHg (95th centile 159/92 mmHg). Age- and sex-specific 95th centile values as well as mean +/- SD were obtained. Mean+SD, mean + 2SD and the 95th centile values obtained as reference upper limits of home blood pressure from subjects identified as normotensive by screening blood pressure (n = 707) were 125/77, 137/86 and 134/83 mmHg, respectively. Home blood pressure increased gradually with increasing age in both men and women, although blood pressure was significantly higher in men until 50 years of age. Day-to-day variation of home systolic blood pressure also increased with age.
Conclusion: Since the distribution of home blood pressure values was affected by age and sex, age- and sex-matched reference values for home blood pressure should be established. Home blood pressure values in elderly subjects should be evaluated carefully, since these exhibit greater day-to-day variation.