Correct measurement of blood pressure is critical but it is not as easy as you may think. At the Hypertension Symposium held in Pittsburgh in January this year, 30 clinicians and medical professionals were tested for blood pressure measurements. Only 3 of them could accurately measure blood pressure.
7 mistakes in blood pressure measurement
Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) published an article on the official website about the correct way of measuring blood pressure, 7 common mistakes in blood pressure measurement may lead to high blood pressure readings, which may cause misdiagnosis.
(1) A full bladder may cause a higher blood pressure reading of approximately 10 to 15 mmHg, so make sure to empty the bladder before measuring blood pressure.
(2) Sitting incorrectly with a lazy position being lack of support of the back / lower limbs can cause higher blood pressure readings about 6 ~ 10 mmHg. When you take blood pressure measurement, you need to backrest with feet flat on the floor or footstool.
(3) Arm hanging in the air may cause the blood pressure reading higher by about 10 mmHg. At the time of measuring blood pressure, the arm should be placed flat on the table so that the monitor cuff is at the same level as the heart is.
(4) Taking the measurement over the clothes may cause the blood pressure reading higher about 5 ~ 50 mmHg. It is best to put the cuff over the arm skin.
(5) If the cuff is too small and too tight, it may cause the blood pressure reading to be higher by about 2 to 10 mmHg, a cuff with a suitable size should be selected.
(6) Cross-legged position can make the blood pressure reading higher about 2 ~ 8 mmHg. Do not raise the leg when measuring blood pressure, keep the feet on the floor.
(7) Speaking can cause a blood pressure reading of approximately 10 mmHg higher. When measuring blood pressure, do not talk.
How to measure blood pressure correctly
Find a quiet place to check your blood pressure. Avoid caffeine, stress, smoking or exercises before taking a measurement.
Make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed with a recently emptied bladder.
Roll up the sleeve on your arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing.
Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes. Your arm should rest comfortably at heart level. Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed. Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
Slow down the deflation when measuring for people with bradycardia(slow pulse).
Repeat in 1-2 minutes after the first-time measurement, take the average of the first and second reading. When the variation between the two readings is more than 5 mmHg in either systolic or diastolic readings, take another measurement and use the average of all the three readings.