Who Knew These 7 Things May Boost Your Blood Pressure Reading?


Blood pressure—one of the few health factors that can actually make or break your overall health. Whether we’re talking about heart disease, kidney failure or stroke, high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors. But that certainly doesn’t mean you’re doomed if you have a reading above 120/80 mmHg—which more than 75 million Americans do.

In fact, there may be a few common mistakes you’re making that are boosting your blood pressure numbers (by more than just 1 or 2 points). So, if you’re someone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, make sure that these 7 common culprits don’t alter your next reading:

1.     Having a full bladder can add 10 to 15 points to a blood pressure reading. Always try to use the bathroom before getting a reading, which may come in handy if you have additional screenings to do.

2.     Poor support for your feet or back while seated can raise your blood pressure reading by 6 to 10 points. You should sit in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.

3.     Crossing your legs can add 2 to 8 points to your reading.

4.     If your arm hangs by your side or you must hold it up while getting a reading, your blood pressure numbers may be 10 points higher than the actual figure. Your arm should be on a chair or counter so that the blood pressure cuff is level with your heart.

5.     Having the cuff placed over clothing can add 5 to 50 points to your reading (yes—you read that correctly, up to 50 points!). Needless to say, the cuff should be on a bare arm.

6.     A too-small cuff can add 2 to 10 points to a reading (and it may squeeze your arm just a little too much, ouch!).

7.     Talking can add 10 points to your reading. So mum's the word while your blood pressure is taken.

Know Your Numbers

Whether your high blood pressure is the result of a temporary spike, or more likely a long term condition, there are easy ways to lower it! Simple, everyday changes like keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and reducing sodium will all help to lower your blood pressure and support overall health.

However, to lower your blood pressure in the safest and most effective way possible, work with your primary care doctor. As the provider that knows you best, your doctor can determine the best treatment plan for you based on your unique health needs. 

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