7 Easy Mistakes Could Alter Blood Pressure Readings

May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. Nobody wants to have high blood pressure, but some people are being misdi...

Posted: May 25, 2018 7:34 PM
Updated: May 25, 2018 7:34 PM

May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. Nobody wants to have high blood pressure, but some people are being misdiagnosed with elevated pressure because of simple mistakes being made when they get their pressure taken.

Crossing your legs or even talking can have a significant impact on your blood pressure reading, according to the American Heart Association, which identifies seven common errors that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings.

All of these mistakes can lead to an artificially high reading:

1. Having a full bladder – This can add 10-15 points to your reading. You should always empty your bladder before measuring blood pressure.

2. Slouching, unsupported back/feet – Poor support when sitting can increase your reading by 6-10 points. Make sure you're in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.

3. Unsupported arm – If your arm is hanging by your side or you have to hold it up during a reading, you may see numbers up to 10 points higher than they should be. Position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the measurement cuff is level with your heart.

4. Wrapping the cuff over clothing – This common error can add 5-50 points to your reading. Instead, be sure the cuff is placed on a bare arm.

5. When the cuff is too small – Your pressure may read 2-10 points higher. Ensure a proper fit. Your healthcare provider can help you with this.

6. Sitting with crossed legs – While polite, it could increase a blood pressure reading 2-8 points. It's best to uncross your legs as well as ensure your feet are supported.

7. Talking – Answering questions, talking on the phone, etc. can add 10 points. Stay still and silent to ensure an accurate measurement.

At a high blood pressure symposium in Pittsburgh this January, healthcare professionals and clinicians were tested on accurately measuring blood pressure. Of the 30 participants, only three passed.

"You might be misdiagnosed with having high blood pressure when you actually don't," Sean Stocker, Ph.D., who chaired the symposium, told KDKA's Susan Koeppen.

Stocker is director of Basic and Translational Research at the University of Pittsburgh Hypertension Center.

Researchers and the American Heart Association encourage patients to know how to get their blood pressure taken and follow the guidelines for taking proper pressure and when taking pressure at home.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 83°
Kokomo
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 81°
Crawfordsville
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 78°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 84°
Delphi
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Monticello
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events