Did you know your doctor is supposed to ask you to sit quietly for five minutes before taking your blood pressure? Yeah, we didn't either — and we can't remember a single time we've been asked to do that.
According to Paul Whelton, a cardiovascular specialist at the Tulane University School of Public Health, medical professionals should be following this rule while they take your blood pressure. But he says many do not take enough care when it comes to finding this crucial measurement.
In an interview with NPR, Whelton compared the process to airplane pilots, who have a specific checklist they go through before they take off.
He said, "We would be shocked if a pilot told us he was in a rush and just didn't have time to do it."
The possibility of getting an inaccurate blood pressure reading isn't something to take lightly. Considering the standards for a normal blood pressure have recently changed from 140/90 to 130/80, it is paramount that patients are getting accurate readings. After all, getting a diagnosis of high blood pressure can mean you'll need to make big lifestyle changes or, in some cases, take medication.
That's why Whelton is publicly encouraging medical professionals everywhere to follow a specific checklist before taking a patient's blood pressure. He also shared some helpful guidelines for patients to follow before having their blood pressure taken so they can reduce the risk of getting an inaccurate reading. You'll definitely want to take notes for your next appointment.
Before You Get Your Blood Pressure Checked:
1) Avoid exercise, caffeine, and smoking 30 minutes before your test.
2) Be sure to use the restroom before going in for the checkup.
3) Sit on a chair with your back supported, legs uncrossed, and feet flat on the ground for five minutes without talking before the exam.
4) Don't sit down or lie down while being measured.
5) Be sure to roll up your sleeve so you'll be measured on your bare skin, not your clothing.
6) Don't allow your arm to rest or dangle while the test is happening.
Let's keep our hearts happy and our tests accurate!
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