Matters of the Heart

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

It's just a blood pressure check, right? What's the big deal?

Checking your blood pressure (BP) is a lot more complicated than you think. In fact, there is a lot that goes into such a simple procedure. If your blood pressure is not measured correctly, your results could be misleading, gauging your blood pressure higher or even lower than it really is. Consider these factors that may be affecting your blood pressure readings:

  • Having a full bladder can add 10-15 points to your reading. You should always empty your bladder before measuring blood pressure.

  • A slouching, unsupported back/feet when sitting can increase your reading by 6-10 points. Make sure you’re in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.

  • An unsupported arm that is hanging by your side or that you must hold up during the reading could cause numbers up to go up 10 points higher than they should be. Position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the measurement cuff is level with your heart.

  • Wrapping the BP cuff over clothing can add 5-50 points to your reading. Instead, be sure the cuff is placed on a bare arm.

  • When the cuff is too small then your blood pressure may read 2-10 points higher. Ensure the blood pressure cuff is the proper fit for your arm.

  • Sitting with crossed legs could increase your blood pressure reading 2-8 points. It’s best to uncross your legs as well as ensure your feet are supported.

  • Talking when answering questions or on the phone can add 10 points to your blood pressure readings. Stay still and silent to ensure an accurate measurement.

RELAAAAX……A good rule of thumb for checking blood pressure (whether at home or in your doctors office) is to be relaxed. In fact, rest and relax for at least 5 minutes BEFORE checking your blood pressure. If your blood pressure reading happens to be elevated, take 2-3 readings 1-2 minutes apart and get readings in both arms.

Some other considerations for measuring your blood pressure:

· Avoid measuring bp when cold, anxious, stressed or in pain.

· Wait at least 2 hours AFTER meals or heavy physical activity.

· Wait 30 minutes AFTER coffee or smoking.

· Measure your blood pressure in the AM & PM one week before doctor’s visits. (Some people tend to have elevated blood pressure, called "white-coat syndrome" at the doctor’s office).

For more information about blood pressure, visit

To find out how CDEC consultants can help your clients reduce and control blood pressure, contact us today at

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