Have you ever gotten a surprise when you visited the doctor's office and discovered your blood pressure was higher than you expected? What most people do not realize is that your blood pressure is constantly changing minute by minute in response to many things such as mood, activity, body position, etc. Simple motions alone can cause blood pressure to fluctuate anywhere between 5 and 40 mmHg. Here are 7 little thoughts of instances that can temporarily cause significant deviations in your blood pressure measurements.


1. Wrapping blood pressure cuff over clothing

Depending on the thickness of the clothes, studies have shown that the measurement error can be as high as 50 mmHG. It is thus important that the blood pressure cuff must be wrapped around the bare arm with no article of clothing. For people who want to or will be measuring their blood pressure, it is advisable to wear clothes with short sleeves or have sleeves which are easy to roll-up.



2. Measure blood pressure in a noisy environment

Studies have shown that blood pressure may increase by 10 to 15 mmHG when talking during measurement. Even just by being in a noisy environment can also cause an also an increase in blood pressure by up to 10 mmHG. Therefore it is important to stay still, silent and be in a quiet environment to ensure an accurate measurement.



3. Wrong posture during measurement

When measuring blood pressure, your sitting posture is very important. Improper posture will result in deviations in your measurement anywhere between 2 to 8 mmHG. The correct posture is to place your feet flat on the ground, not cross your legs and ensure your back and arms are supported. The arms should also be placed at the same height as the heart.



4. Measure blood pressure immediately after exercise

Exercising affects blood pressure, even walking. Therefore, it is advisable not to smoke, drink coffee, or exercise at least 30 minutes before the measurement of blood pressure. It is especially important to remain rested and fully relaxed 5 minutes before blood pressure measurement.



5. Blood pressure cuff size is too small or too large

If you squeeze your arm into a smaller cuff size, the measured value may increase by 2-10 mmHG; on the other hand, a larger cuff size may also cause problems with the measured value. Therefore, it is important that the cuff size of the sphygmomanometer is appropriate, and it should be placed 2-3 cm above the elbow joint. It should also be tight enough to fit a finger in.



6. Measure blood pressure with a full bladder

Blood pressure tends to be lower when the bladder is empty. Your blood pressure will start to increase as your bladder gradually starts to fill. Studies have shown that your blood pressure measurements could increase by 10 to 15mmHg with a full bladder.



7. Emotional State

Stress or anxiety can induce a large increase in blood pressure. Having your blood pressure measurement while you are thinking about something that is very stressful or if you are in a stressful situation can significantly increase your blood pressure.



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