Recently, I went to one of Bangkok’s top International Hospitals to get my hearing aid fixed. A somewhat over-eager-to-please establishment wanted to take my blood pressure. So I sat down and the girl fired up the electronic machine. The reading was 178/98.
Now I happen to know (as I check it most days) that I am usually about 124/78. Could it have been the long drive? Could I have white coat syndrome? Or was it something else?
They also measured my weight at about 5 kg over the correct figure, so I became suspicious. Are they trying to convince me that I am not in perfect health before I see a Doctor who could sell me a statin?
But maybe it was just the equipment. So when I arrived home I did a little Internet search. And I realized that every hospital I have been to in the last 5 years for my annual Health Check is completely ignorant on how to measure your blood pressure.
For a start, you should be sitting calmly, with your back and head supported for at least 3 minutes. Your legs must not be crossed, and your arm that is being used must be supported. Failure to do any of these things can each raise your blood pressure between 5 and 20 points. So the English Doctor who gave me my WellMan check and told me to sit on the bed with back, neck and arm unsupported and with legs dangling , frankly had not got a clue. And later, as I have covered before, she wanted me to start taking a statin.
What chance is there for us if a Doctor in a private UK Hospital doesn’t know how to do a blood pressure test accurately?
You can read exactly how to get an accurate result here.