The Blood Pressure Cuff
When it comes to the cuff, there is a need for it to fit just right. If it’s too loose, you could get falsely low blood pressure readings; if it’s too tight, your reading might be inaccurately higher.
A stressful trip to the doctor can throw your blood pressure reading off once you actually get there. If traffic or crowded bus stops got your heart racing, ask to rest for five minutes before handing over your arm.
Dehydration can lower your blood pressure readings, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids the day before and day of the reading too. It is important your health practitioner gets an accurate assessment so they don’t over-treat or under-treat you.
The Way You Sit
When next the nurse asks you to hop up on the exam table so they can take your blood pressure, don’t. When you’re sitting on a high table and your feet dangling, you’re almost between sitting and standing.
This can affect your reading because your blood pressure is different when you’re standing versus lying down. The proper position is seated in a chair with your back flat against the chair back and your feet flat on the floor.
How You Hold Your Arm
If your arm isn’t supported, blood pressure readings can be affected. Your arm should be flat on a table or supported by the person taking your pressure, and it shouldn’t just be left hanging in the air.
If your arm is too high or low, it can affect how hard your heart has to pump to keep blood flowing, which then affects your blood pressure.
Your Bathroom Schedule
It is important you empty your bladder right before you check your blood pressure. A full bladder might raise your blood pressure.
Smoking is bad for your blood pressure readings, especially right before a doctor’s appointment. Smoking can raise your reading because it causes spasms of the arteries.
What You Ate The Night Before
Eating a salty meal the day or night before can temporarily lead to an elevated reading. You should also be mindful of what you eat on the day of the exam.
Stick to a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and veggies.
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