Follow these tips for the most accurate blood pressure reading.
Most people could benefit from taking their blood pressure at home, suggests research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Why? Because many of us experience either “white coat hypertension”—a high blood pressure reading only when it’s measured in a doctor’s office—or “masked hypertension,” a low reading because you’re more relaxed in a doctor’s office.
To reveal the true counts, start tracking your blood pressure out of the doctor’s office. Stop by a local pharmacy that has a free blood pressure machine. Or buy your own. Many insurance companies cover the cost of a home blood pressure monitor.
Follow these tips for the most accurate blood pressure reading:
1. For 30 minutes before, avoid smoking, caffeine, and exercise. Sit quietly for five minutes before.
2. Check the position of the cuff—around your upper arm, with the bottom edge about 1 inch above your slightly bent elbow. Never place it over your clothes.
3. During the test, sit upright with your feet flat on the floor and don’t talk. Make sure your arm is resting easily on a surface. Take a few readings.
Blood pressure is considered “high” if the top number (systolic) is 130 or above or the bottom number (diastolic) is 80 or above. Track your results and bring them to your next checkup.
You can learn more about high blood pressure at heart.org.
Published on 5/12/22
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