THE PRESSURE’S ON
Your doctor is probably taking your blood pressure incorrectly.
Strange to think that a medical professional could be performing such a simple task wrong, but research shows that many providers aren’t following all the steps. When taking your blood pressure you should be sitting on a chair with your back supported and feet on the ground for 5 minutes before the reading is taken, and you should be silent the entire time. The cuff should be in contact with your bare skin and your arm should be supported. When was the last time your doctor took these steps?
These measures are increasingly important with the new high blood pressure guidelines. As standards for high blood pressure are lower than ever before, accurate readings are critical to protecting your health. The best solution for those with hypertension is home monitoring. A good cuff for home use will inflate and measure your blood pressure automatically, and most have a feature that flags irregular results. Because you can get readings more frequently than a doctor could, these home results give you a more accurate picture of your blood pressure and allow you to respond better to new treatment plans.
When buying a cuff, make sure it fits around your upper arm snugly. The model should be easy to use and have features relevant to you, such as memory for multiple users or the ability to download results to a computer. Consumer Reports recommends models in the $40-$75 range, and your insurance may cover a cuff.