If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, chances are great that it’s a misdiagnosis or that your blood pressure is not as high as your doctor says.
Millions of people are forced on blood pressure medications every year without even having borderline high blood pressure.
Not only is this a waste of money and causes unneeded side effects, putting someone with normal blood pressure on medications may actually cause blood pressure to be too low, causing additional problems.
Even the best of medical people can make mistakes when measuring blood pressure. And taking blood pressure during only the few minutes per month or year your doctor sees you can be very misleading since that may not accurately reflect your average state of pressure.
That’s why in today’s feature article, I’m going to give you some tips on how to accurately measure your blood pressure at home as well as how your doctor should measure your blood pressure in his/her office.
First of all, if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s essential that you get your own blood pressure cuff and take your pressure at home. Even if the home cuffs are not as accurate as the ones in the doctor’s office (but many are) this will give you reality test on if your blood pressure is really high and if whatever you’re doing to fight it is working.
Year after year, the highest rated cuffs according to “Consumer Reports” are the cheap Wall Mart brand cuffs. So you don’t have to hand over much cash to get good quality.
Make sure you buy a digital monitor. They may cost a little more but it will save you so much hassle and the risk of misdiagnosis. Many of those will store your readings so you can take them to your doctor with data if your readings contradict his/hers.
I recommend taking your blood pressure two or three times per day, always around the same time. Your pressure will vary greatly from morning, midday and noon so that will give you accurate averages for blood pressure. You’ll also learn when your blood pressure is highest and when it’s lowest.
Avoid any stimulants 15 minutes before taking your pressure. This includes: coffee, tobacco, food, exercises, stress (if possible), sudden temperature change etc.
For best results sit quietly for 2-5 minutes before taking your pressure and relax with deep breathing. This will remove tension from your body and give you more balanced pressure instead of representing what’s going on around you in the moment.
Monitors vary a little so make sure you follow the manufacturers’ directions. In general you should place your cuff on your right arm or wrist (depending on monitor). Try to always put the cuff on the same area every time you measure (preferably around the pulse). Bend your elbow and have your front arm rest on something supportive, then simply press the button to inflate. Breathe in a relaxed way while the measuring is being done.
Then record your numbers.
Don’t be afraid if you see occasional spikes in blood pressure. Your blood pressure rocks up and down from moment to moment. While engaging in physical activity or emotional situation, it can even spike above dangerous levels. While relaxing and listening to calming music, it will drop to your best level. This is normal.
If one measurement is very high while the others are low, there was something going on at that moment or that day that raised your blood pressure.
Nothing to worry about!
In fact, the numbers you should pay most attention to are the lowest measurements. If you see 117/76 in the morning and then 135/92 in the afternoon, I’d not consider that you had hypertension even if the border is 120/80 and the average would be over that. You may want to use some natural methods or lifestyle changes to make your blood pressure better but it’s not really high blood pressure in my opinion.
Note: I’m not a medical doctor and my advice should not replace that of a licensed practitioner.
Now to your doctor’s office…
If your average blood pressure at home is significantly lower than at the doctor’s office, you may suffer from what’s called “white coat syndrome.” This is when the stress of having a medical person take your pressure actually causes it to spike in the moment so that it looks like you’re hypertensive when you are not.
But the difference in numbers in the doctor’s office may also be caused by his/her mistakes.
A good doctor will make at least four readings. The American Heart Association recommends this procedure:
“Take your patient’s blood pressure twice while he’s standing, then record the average of the two; next, take it twice while he’s sitting and record the average of those two. Document which pressure was taken with the patient standing and which with him sitting. Use the sitting measurement as your final reading- the standing measurement is a reference point only.”
Your doctor should encourage you to relax before taking the readings and not keep up a conversation while the monitor is working as talking and even listening may cause spikes in blood pressure. Make sure you doctor is using the right cuff size for you.
If your doctor isn’t open to taking into account the difference between your home readings and his/hers, or take the time to do four readings, you have to seek a second opinion. Your life may depend on it because you’re being treated for a condition based on misinformation.
I’ve heard from our readers how they were often forced by their doctor to go on medications even if they knew in their heart that it was wrong. And most of the time medications are very ineffective to treat a misdiagnosis or white coat syndrome.
Now if you have average blood pressure over 120/80, you definitely want to take action to bring it down. The most effective method I’ve come across to drop blood pressure permanently are a simple, 9-minute series of blood pressure exercises.
You can learn more about these blood pressure exercises here…
But first, please leave your insight about this article in the comment section below.