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  • Writer's pictureDmitri Konash

10 Mistakes to Avoid While Measuring Blood Pressure

How to ensure correct blood pressure readings at home


10 Mistakes When Measuring Blood Pressure

We have many thousands of subscribers on our social media channels and often get questions about specific aspects of measuring blood pressure at home. Rather than repeating simple rules which are widely available from respectable sources like the  American Heart Association [1], we decided to compile a list of top 10 mistakes to avoid. 


We often get questions about these 10 mistakes from our audience so assume that they are the most confusing. Below we provide the list of these mistakes to avoid and if you would like to learn more details please check this 8 minute video on our YouTube channel. 

  1. Not resting for 5 minutes before taking a blood pressure measurement. Your need to know your resting blood pressure, hence the need to rest before measuring it. 


  1. Taking blood pressure readings only one time per day. Hint: measure your blood pressure at least 2 times per day (in the morning and in the afternoon).  Or more times if requested by your doctor. 


  1. Not keeping  a BP monitor cuff at the heart level. A standard requirement taught at medical schools is to keep a BP cuff at heart level during the measurement.  


  1. Measuring blood pressure in less than 2-3 hours after having a cup of coffee. Coffee will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system and as a result your BP is likely to increase.

 

  1. Measuring your blood pressure with a full bladder. See item #4 above for the explanation. 


  1. Incorrectly placing the blood pressure monitor cuff on your arm. To avoid this mistake, follow the instructions of your cuff manufacturer. 


  1. Using only the wrist blood pressure monitor. It may be a one time option if you do not have access to a proper BP monitor. However as recommended by the American Heart Association [2] you should aim to use the upper arm monitor as it produces more accurate readings. 


  1. Talking or moving while taking blood pressure readings. See item #4 above for the explanation. Instead do some relaxation exercises to calm down (more on this below). 


  1. Relying only on a single BP reading. Check our video for the explanation why you always need to take at least 2 consecutive readings and average results. 


Trying to measure blood pressure with a phone’s camera. Unlike a fully valid method of measuring heart rate and stress with a phone’s camera, you just can’t get your BP taken the same way. As of June 2024 the technology which allows this is simply NOT available. 

Don’t fall victim to false advertising and always use blood pressure monitors validated in your country. You will find a corresponding label on device packaging. 


Using the opportunity. Our blood pressure app BreathNow makes it very easy to log blood pressure readings with daily reminders. You can share your log with your doctor and the history graphs are easy to navigate. The app which is available for iPhone and Android users, also helps to lower blood pressure naturally with relaxation techniques and easy exercises. Give it a try, most of the functions are free. 


Stay healthy and please let us know what other topics related to anxiety and blood pressure you would like us to cover. 


References: 

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