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Avoid These Blood Pressure Measuring Mistakes:From Vitamin Research Products, Insider By VRP
When the nurse is taking your blood pressure—or even if you're taking your own measurements at home—it's extremely important to use the proper size blood pressure cuff on your upper arm. Errors in blood pressure readings happen when the person taking the reading fails to determine if your arm circumference falls within the range indicators on the cuff. Using a cuff that's too small can cause an increase in systolic blood pressure of 10 to 40 mmHg.3 Studies also have shown that blood pressure measurements can differ between arms.
Another important consideration: the blood pressure cuff should always be placed directly on your skin. Placing the cuff over clothing can increase systolic blood pressure from 10 to 50 mmHg.3
Other ways to make certain your blood pressure reading is as accurate as possible include:
• Relax by sitting quietly in a comfortable chair for three to five minutes before your blood pressure is measured. Also, exercising or eating can raise your systolic blood pressure measurement by 10 to 20 mmHg.1-3
• Sit back against the chair and support your arm. If your back is not supported, your diastolic blood pressure measurement may rise by 1
to 7 mmHg. If you place your upper arm below your heart level, this may also trigger higher measurements. However, supporting your upper arm above your heart level will likely result in lower measurements. For every inch you place your arm above or below your heart level, you may note an increase/decrease of your systolic blood pressure of 2 mmHg.1-3
• Don't cross your legs, which can raise your systolic blood pressure by 2 to 8 mmHg.1-3
Other factors that can skew your blood pressure reading to the higher side include talking to the doctor or nurse, thinking about something stressful, drinking alcohol or caffeine less than 30 minutes prior to measuring blood pressure and being in a cold room.1-5 Surprisingly, even having a full bladder can increase your systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg.1-3
Some people have what's known as white coat hypertension—in other words, their blood pressure is high only at the doctor's office due to anxiety, but is normal when at home and work. For people who have white coat hypertension, being in the doctor's office can raise blood
pressure by as much as 23 percent.6 It's estimated that one in five people who are labeled as hypertensive really have white coat hypertension.7
To rule out white coat hypertension as a possible cause of your high readings, consider investing in a good home blood pressure monitoring device and have your doctor calibrate it. I am particularly fond of the Omron BP785 10 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor.
1. Handler J. The Permanente Journal. 2009;13:3:51.
2. Brien E, et al. Journal of Hypertension. 2003;21:821.
3. Pickering TG, et al. Hypertension. 2005;45:142.
7. The World's Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets, Bottom Line Publications,
2001, page 73.
How many of you have sat in your doctor's office on his examining table; feet dangling off the table; freezing cold because the air conditioner seems to be blowing right on you; waiting; then, the nurse comes in at last and takes your blood pressure, or the physician may take your blood pressure. All these things tend to increase your blood pressure readings.
They have you stick your arm out in the air, unsupported, shirt or blouse covering the arm, and then take your blood pressure, while another may be asking you questions; or, you are being spoken to by the examiner as they take your pressure, and you are answering them back.
That...is all wrong!
When Dr. "B" got a physical for The Sahara Desert Crossing, he was plied with questions at the same time his pressure was being taken. He told them his feet were dangling and he should not be talking, and he told them more...to which they answered, 'It makes no difference, it won't affect your blood pressure."
Oh, yes, it will!
We have written about this type of thing some years back, and now, it is worse.
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