Talking while measuring your blood pressure can increase your reading. So can having to go to the bathroom or even crossing your legs, the American Heart Association says.
“These small changes can make a huge difference in blood pressure diagnoses that then require treatment,” said Dr. Michael Hochman, a member of the heart association.
“Knowing how to take your blood pressure accurately, and finding mistakes done at doctorss offices, can help manage your pressure while avoiding any unnecessary medications,” Hochman said in a news report.
Here are the AHA’s rules for the seven most common mistakes people make when taking their blood pressure:
- Having a full bladder might add 15 points to your BP score. Always attempt to use the restroom before you measure your blood pressure.
- Poor feet support or back support while seated can also increase your reading by as much as 10 points. Sit in a chair with your back well supported against the seat and your feet flat on the floor.
- Crossing your legs can add between 2 to 8 points to your BP reading, so don’t do that.
- Hanging your arms by your side or having to hold your arms up could increase your blood pressure number by 10 points. Instead, your arm should be resting on a chair or counter so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
- Having the cuff over clothing can also add 5 or as much as 50 points to your reading. The cuff should only be on your bare arm.
- A cuff that is too small can tack on an addition 2 to 10 points to your reading.
- And even talking can increase your reading by 10 points. Remain silent and still as your blood pressure is measured.