The 5: Tips on ensuring an accurate blood pressure reading

The 5: Tips on ensuring an accurate blood pressure reading

Staying on top of our blood pressure is vital to ensuring a healthy lifestyle. Using the typical blood pressure cuff method, we can get a pretty good look at what's going on in our circulatory and cardiovascular system without going through anything all that intrusive. But, as important as it is for people to regularly check their blood pressure, this preventative measure is all for naught if your reading is inaccurate.

The 5: Tips on ensuring an accurate blood pressure reading

Here are five ways this can easily happen:

1) Holding It In. Yup, if you have to pee, you best do it before you take your blood pressure reading. Holding back your bladder from doing its thing can sometimes trick your nervous system into thinking that you're stressed and, as a result, your blood pressure artificially rises.

2) Not Elevating Your Arm. In order for an accurate BP reading to be done, you must raise your arm to about heart level. But you may be saying to yourself, "When my doctor checks my blood pressure, he or she just slaps the cuff on me while my arm is by my side." Well, that's because your doctor and/or nurse probably realizes that keeping your arm in this position can elevate your diastolic and systolic blood pressure by anywhere from six to nine points and they account for this adjustment in your reading.

3) Playing Shirts and Skins. If your shirt is any thicker than 2mm, taking your blood pressure through your shirt may affect the accuracy of your reading. In a study held at Tel Aviv University, researchers found that wearing a bulky sweatshirt or sweater could lead to a false reading. The best bet, then, would be to go skins.

4) Bench Yourself. If you're moving around, standing, shuffling, or doing the Electric Slide in your Doctor's Office, your blood vessels will constrict and affect your pressure reading. Research shows that sitting down for fifteen minutes or so before your blood pressure reading will relax your blood vessels and help ensure a more accurate reading.

5) Don't Give Your Doctor The Finger. Basically, finger cuffs aren't the most accurate way to take a blood pressure reading. In fact, they're just about one of the worst ways to do it. Your fingers are too apt to change temperature and are too far away from the core of your body to give an accurate reading. Your better off sticking to your arm than trying to get through the process by only lifting a finger.

Hope this helps in some way or another.

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