Common mistakes made while measuring your Blood Pressure/ Mistakes that cause inaccurate BP measurements

Blood pressure is a key indicator of cardiovascular health. The availability of Home Blood Pressure Monitors has made it easy and convenient to measure blood pressure from home, but are you measuring you blood pressure correctly?

Here are a few common mistakes you can avoid while measuring blood pressure at home.

Failing to rest before taking blood pressure measurements:

To obtain an accurate blood pressure measurement, you must relax and rest quietly in a comfortable chair at least 5 minutes before a reading is taken. Any activities such as exercise or eating can cause lead to falsely high values and potential over treatment.

Having a full bladder:

Blood pressure is generally lower when your bladder is empty. As your bladder gradually fills up, your blood pressure increases. Studies have shown that your systolic blood pressure measurements could increase systolic blood pressure by 15 mmHg when you have a full bladder.

Incorrect cuff size:

Cuff size and placement is as important as the blood pressure monitor being used. Using one that’s too small will be uncomfortable and may elevate your pressure by several points. Research suggests that using a blood pressure cuff that is too small can cause a patient’s systolic blood pressure measurement to increase by 10 mmHg, while over cuffing (large cuff size) can decrease systolic blood pressure by approximately 4 mmHg. The ideal cuff should have a bladder length that is 80% and width that is at least 40% of the arm circumference, placed 2 cm above the joint. 

An unsupported arm or incorrect arm position can result in accurate readings:

An unsupported and incorrect arm position can increase systolic blood pressure by 7mmHg. Be sure to position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the blood pressure cuff is level with your heart. 

Slouching, unsupported back/feet can result in inaccurate blood pressure readings: Make sure that you are seated in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor. Slouching or having an unsupported back can increase systolic blood pressure by 6-10 mmHg, while an unsupported arm can increase your systolic blood pressure by 7 mmHg .

Sitting with crossed legs can lead to inaccurate bp readings: Sitting cross-legged can elevate your blood pressure levels as it squeezes the large veins in your legs thereby increasing your systolic blood pressure by 2-8 mmHg. 

Talking or engaging in conversation can cause inaccurate blood pressure readings: Chatting or talking on the phone while checking your blood pressure can elevate the readings by 10mmHg and that should be avoided. Which is why staying still and silent during the measurement is important.

The factors mentioned above couples with a Clinically Validated Home Blood Pressure Monitor like the devices offered by Circa 120/80, will help you get accurate blood pressure readings.

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