Hypertension - ‘Three 'Synergistic' Problems When Taking Blood Pressure’ (6)

16 June, 2023


Thank you for your comments [*1 see note below] on this very important issue about how to take our blood pressure properly. It is important because ‘an accurate blood pressure reading helps you have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke’. In addition, ‘A reading that says your blood pressure (BP) is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health. A reading that says your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment you don’t need’.

Whilst it may be difficult some times to fulfill all the recommendations for taking blood pressure properly, it is better to make the effort to meet most of them, , most of the time.

But it is surely not a safe or good idea to locate BP measuring machines everywhere, including pubs, restaurants, etc, where people may be smoking (active or passive), drinking, bantering and jollying, not at rest.

This is because things that can affect a blood pressure reading, include: ‘Nervousness about having your blood pressure taken (‘white coat syndrome’). It is reported that as many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office may have normal blood pressure readings outside of it. Also BP reading can be affected by ‘What you ate, drank, or did before your reading, such as ‘If you smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine, or exercised within 30 minutes of having your blood pressure measured, your reading might be higher.’ And, ‘How you are sitting. Crossing your legs and letting your arm droop at your side rather than rest on a table at chest height can make your blood pressure go up’.

(https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/tips-t…) [*2 see note below]

Joseph Ana.

Prof Joseph Ana

Lead Senior Fellow/ medical consultant.

Center for Clinical Governance Research & Patient Safety (ACCGR&PS) @ HRI GLOBAL

P: +234 (0) 8063600642

E: info@hri-global.org

8 Amaku Street, State Housing, Calabar, Nigeria.


[*Notes from HIFA moderator (NPW):

1. In response to my previous comment: [Thanks Joseph. I wasn’t aware of these rules for taking blood pressure and I see there is similar advice from the organisation Blood Pressure UK (although they don’t say anything about emptying the bladder). This raises questions. Is this advice practical, especially in busy clinical environments (let alone public BP stations)? Which aspects of the advice are most important? Can the advice be simplified?]

2. I was unable to access this URL but further information from Harvard is available here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/blood-pressure#controlling-your-bl... ]