It is simply frightening how many Hospitals do not take a blood pressure reading in a way best designed to give accuracy. They make simple mistakes. Here’s how to get an accurate reading:
- Be seated with your legs uncrossed, feet on the floor.
- Your back should be supported, ideally your neck too.
- Be calm; relax in this position for 3 – 5 minutes. Never take the reading straight away
- Your arm which is being used must also be supported, for example on a cushion, and should be in line with your heart.
- The cuff to be used must be at least one inch above the bend in your arm.
- The pressure tube should pass down the arm.
- The cuff must never go over clothing, even partially.
- The cuff must neither be too tight or too loose.
- Avoid exercise for at least 3 hours before the test; and caffeine, sugar and alcohol for 6 hours.
- Do not have a full bladder – that can increase the figure by ten points too.
- Take your blood pressure every day at the same time. One measurement is pretty meaningless; it can change 10 minutes later. Better to keep a record of blood pressure results over time.
Each and all of the points above can put the reading out by 5 – 20 mmHg.
Blood pressure tests record your systolic blood pressure (the force the heart uses to pump out the blood) and your diastolic pressure (the pressure between beats).