Blood pressure readings are like the Dow Jones average; they go up and down, even in a five-minute interval. Remember, your heart is a pulsating, dynamic organ, so your blood pressure will vary, sometimes as much as 20 to 30 mm/Hg in successive readings. How can you prevent high blood pressure readings? The key is to relax.
How to Avoid a High Blood Pressure Reading
When taking a resting blood pressure reading, I don’t let people talk. Talking will drive your numbers up. (Air traffic controllers as a group have higher-than-normal blood pressure. They’re under enormous pressure, and they talk all the time.) I also avoid taking BP if the patient rushed to my office, especially if he or she was caught in traffic, if the outside temperature is very cold or if some emotional stress issues are ongoing. Even a cup of coffee just prior to the test can change the data.
What do your high blood pressure readings tell you? Readings where the top number (systolic pressure) is 130–139 or the bottom number (diastolic pressure) is 85–89 should be monitored carefully. Readings consistently above 150/90 are a risk factor for heart attacks.
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