Measuring Blood Pressure

04/24/2009 at 5:50 AM 2 comments

I find that there is a lot of confusion out there about BP measurement. What we want is Resting BP. this is the baseline that blood presure returns to when we are not running around or excited. You could also call it baseline BP. The problem of course is that the act of measuring it can raise it. And if you focus on it too much and start over thinking it , then the values are worthless. 

So, when and where should you take it? Glad you asked. Ideally it should be at a time and place where you are the most relaxed. I dont mean a spa or vacation from the kids, but on a daily basis what part of the day is the least stressfull? For most people it is after dinner. Most of the days chores are done and you are winding down for the day, perhaps will watch some TV.  You need to sit still for a few minutes to let it settle down then take the reading and write it down. NO REDO’s!  Then if the readings are either high or variable take it daily or every other day for a few weeks. If you try to do it many times a day, your brain will get in the way and the readings wont be reflective of the real BP.

Probably one of the worst places to take it is in my office. That provides quite a conundrum since that is the place that it is taken most often. Like with computers, garbage in, garbage out. You need good realiable accurate data with which to base my decision. So we will rarely get worried about one reading, we want several before we decide to put you on medicine for the rest of your life. Or decide that you dont need the medicine.

My advice for those of you with either High BP or incipient High BP. go to Walmart , get an arm cuff, follow the directions, take your pressure regularly (4-8 times a month) write the pressures down. Take those values with you to your doctor- he/she will be impressed. if you write them in a column with the dates so they are easy to scan, so much the better. Legible is good too.


Entry filed under: How things work.

Better Doctor/Better Parent It’s nothing doc, just heavy chest pressure

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Linda  |  04/24/2009 at 5:13 PM

    But remember, all of the studies showing the ill effects of high blood pressure were done using BP readings obtained in doctor’s offices. We really don’t know the significance of “normal” home readings when the office readings are high, do we?

    • 2. aliekat55  |  05/19/2009 at 5:53 AM

      Sorry for the delay in response, I am still learning the ins and outs of blogging. You make an excellent point. The studies relate to blood pressure readings in a medical setting. but it would be hard to treat someone who we knew only had elevated pressures in the office.


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