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eWellness: Some measurement mistakes that can lead to high BP

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Dr KK Aggarwal    02 May 2018

  1. Having a full bladder – This can add 10-15 points to your reading. You should always empty your bladder before measuring blood pressure.
  2. Slouching, unsupported back/feet – Poor support when sitting can increase your reading by 6-10points. Make sure you’re in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.
  3. Unsupported arm – If your arm is hanging by your side or you have to hold it up during a reading, you may see numbers up to 10 points higher than they should be. Position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the measurement cuff is level with your heart.
  4. Wrapping the cuff over clothing – This common error can add 5-50 points to your reading. Instead, be sure the cuff is placed on a bare arm.
  5. When the cuff is too small – Your pressure may read 2-10 points higher. Ensure a proper fit. Your healthcare provider can help you with this.
  6. Sitting with crossed legs – While polite, it could increase a blood pressure reading 2-8 points. It’s best to uncross your legs as well as ensure your feet are supported.
  7. Talking – Answering questions, talking on the phone, etc. can add 10 points. Stay still and silent to ensure an accurate measurement.

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