Unbearable Heaviness in the Blood: How Not to Make a Mistake When Taking Blood Pressure

When a person has high blood pressure, it is difficult and unpleasant. Glavred explains what mistakes can be made when measuring blood pressure.

The pressure of society is an unpleasant thing. But it’s even more unpleasant when the body’s blood pressure is far from the values recommended by doctors. Is it possible to measure blood pressure incorrectly – the answer to this question is unequivocal. It is possible! This happens if you make mistakes during the procedure of measuring pressure (systolic and diastolic).

The main mistakes when measuring pressure:

  • The cuff of the blood pressure monitor is too large or improperly attached (too loose or over the sleeves of outerwear);
  • The person does not rest for at least five to six minutes before the measurement;
  • The person is actively talking during the measurement;
  • The person has drunk coffee, strong tea, a glass of alcohol, or smoked a cigarette with tobacco;
  • The person has chosen an uncomfortable posture – especially if the posture is leg over leg (it greatly affects the accuracy of the indicators);
  • A break of two to three minutes between measurements on the right and left arm was not maintained (a pause is necessary for the vessels to return to their previous position);
  • The person did not go for a small physiological need before the measurement (this can increase the indicators).

It may happen that the tonometer will show slightly distorted pressure readings after the measurement.

How to understand that the tonometer is lying:

  • If the person was actively moving shortly before the measurement, or fidgeting on a soft spot during the process;
  • If the person placed their arm in the wrong position during the measurement;
  • In mechanical blood pressure monitors, problems arise if the owner does not carry out a metrological check of the manometer, does not monitor the wear of the cuff, does not observe the tightness of the fit at the junction of the pear, tube, and cuff, and does not monitor the condition of the stop valve and the trigger screw.

In an electronic blood pressure monitor, the cause of incorrect readings may be operation not according to the instructions – as a result of which the electronic unit is damaged, and the cuff wears out. If the device appears to be in order but still has problems, then it should be taken to a pharmacy for repair. In addition, some models (for example, wrist monitors) can distort data when used for patients over 40 years old. According to doctors, this is due to the increasing distance of the device from the heart muscle and some age-related changes in blood vessels.

Experts believe that semi-automatic blood pressure monitors are much more reliable than their automatic counterparts since the number of automated processes in them is reduced due to the mechanical process of pumping air into the cuff. However, they can also make mistakes (if used incorrectly).

According to doctors, despite the hundreds of models of electronic blood pressure monitors, they still recommend that patients use mechanical devices in everyday practice (since they do not give errors in arrhythmias or weak pulse).

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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