According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 108 million adults in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure, with only 24% of them having it under control.
With half a million hypertension-related deaths in the U.S. in 2018 and high blood pressure putting individuals at risk for stroke and heart disease, it’s important to get accurate readings.
However, the American Heart Association (AHA) has discovered that blood pressure readings aren’t always accurate. Whether it’s at home or the clinic or hospital, there are mistakes that people make that can result in high blood pressure readings. Despite the procedure being extremely common, most individuals do it improperly.
It’s impossible to know whether someone’s blood pressure is high or not without an accurate reading, which impacts medication adjustment and more.
Avoid an artificially high reading and use the proper procedure whenever you’re having your blood pressure taken.
The following are the most common mistakes people make that result in high blood pressure readings. Take note of them and avoid them to manage your hypertension properly and avoid inaccurate readings.
Recommended Reading: The Importance of Senior Exercises and Physical Activity→
Talking Can Effect Your Blood Pressure
When having their blood pressure taken, this is one of the most common things people do. Whether answering a nurse’s questions or simply chatting on the phone, it can increase your blood pressure reading by ten points.
Avoid this by staying silent and still when you measure your blood pressure. Avoid active listening as well since even this can add ten points to your reading.
Having a Full Bladder Can Cause an Incorrect Reading
Having a full bladder can skew your blood pressure reading by adding 10-15 points to it.
It’s always best to empty your bladder before measuring your blood pressure for the most accurate results.
Your Reading Can Be Affected by a Small Cuff
A proper fitting cuff is essential for accurate blood pressure readings, with small cuffs raising your reading by 2-10 points.
No Back or Foot Support Can Increase Your Blood Pressure Reading
If you’re not correctly supported while testing your blood pressure, expect your reading to be off by 6-10 points.
Sit on a chair to ensure back support and have your feet firmly planted on the ground, or use a footstool to ensure your feet are flat.
Using the Cuff Over Clothes Can Lead to an Erroneous Reading
It’s integral for the measurement cuff to be around your bare arm for an accurate reading. Using the cuff over clothing can add 5-50 points, a significant difference.
One of the ways you can ensure this is by wearing clothing with loose sleeves that you can roll up if you know you’re going to check your blood pressure.
Alternatively, you can opt for short sleeves. Since this can raise your blood pressure reading by up to 50 points, you must avoid this.
Incorrect Arm Position Can Raise Your Blood Pressure Reading
The cuff you put on for your reading has to be level with your heart. Often, individuals leave their arms hanging or hold them up during the process.
This can boost your blood pressure reading by up to 10 points. If you want to ensure that the cuff is level with your heart, make sure you put your arm on a counter, table, or chair.
Crossing Your Legs Can Increase Your Reading
If you’ve been sitting cross-legged while measuring your blood pressure, it may explain inaccurate readings.
This can increase readings by 2-8 points, making it essential to uncross your legs and support your feet during the process.
Avoid these mistakes for more accurate readings and better hypertension care, and make sure you’re surrounded by healthcare professionals who know exactly how to care for you.
At American Grand, we pride ourselves on our individualized and holistic approach to caring for you. If you’re interested in our assisted living facility, call us at (920) 585-6985 or get in touch with us here for a personalized tour.Tour Our Facility