10 Tips To Getting an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
Written by Eli Ben-yehudaOn April 8, 2019
Getting an accurate blood pressure reading is a vital aspect of getting a physical exam. When I was in nursing school we were not allowed to go near a clinic, or patient until we demonstrated that we could perform this exam accurately. That is how important getting an accurate blood pressure reading is.
New guidelines from the American Medical Association spell out in great detail the proper way to take a patient’s accurate blood pressure reading.
AMA Blood Pressure Reading Guidlines
First, you need to be seated in a chair with your feet on the floor. You should sit there quietly, without talking, for about 5 minutes. And don’t cross your legs. Ensure that the Nurse or nurses assistant is taking your blood pressure reading correctly. This means no answering questions while they are taking your blood pressure.
When the BP reading is taken, your arm should be supported by something, like a table, and it should be roughly at the level of your heart. Also, the blood pressure cuff should not be over any clothing.
Chances are you’ve never had your blood pressure taken this way.
There are a few things you can do to help ensure an accurate reading:
“All of these things probably have just a small effect on your blood pressure, but because your blood pressure is so important, we need to know what it actually is and we need to do it right to get that number,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Why Is My Blood Pressure High When I Visit My Doctor?
If your blood pressure is higher than normal when you go to visit your doctor, there are three questions your physician should ask you.
“Was I rushing to get here or physically active right before this appointment?” Multiple factors can influence blood pressure measurement, so you should have time to rest before having your blood pressure checked and you should be sitting quietly.
“Have you been taking your medication?” If you are on medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to be taking it. Costs, complicated regimens, and side effects can all be reasons why people stop using their medication, so make sure you take it as prescribed. If you are having trouble discuss any factors that prevent you from sticking with the plan with your physician.
“What’s your diet and physical activity regimen like?” If you don’t choose healthy foods or abstains from physical activity, find out why. You can find community resources that can help you with proper diet and exercise. Learn how eating healthy foods and staying active can help lower blood pressure.
Ensuring Optimal Blood Pressure Reading
Remember these very important points when getting your blood pressure taken at home or in the doctor’s office.
If you talk during the measurement, for example, or if your feet aren’t flat on the floor, there’s a chance that blood pressure measurement will give a falsely high reading. This could lead to a prescription for unnecessary medication.
At the same time, other factors can contribute to unidentified and untreated hypertension, which can be deadly. Even when you visit your doctor please request that the staff follow these guidelines if they are not already. But be polite when asking them. Clinics today are overloaded and hectic and the staff is usually stressed.
Additional articles on blood pressure reading:
- How to Take Accurate Blood Pressure Readings?
- Blood pressure readings should be taken from both arms
- Click Here For More Information
Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda
With a passion for health advocacy Eli researches and writes many articles concerning improving the lives of people diagnosed with high blood pressure and the complication they experience. He believes educating people is the best way to improve their overall health.
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