General Question

leftspin's avatar

What's the best time to take your blood pressure?

Asked by leftspin (56 points ) August 9th, 2007 from iPhone

Sometimes I'm mild hypertensive, sometimes I'm high normal.

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12 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I have a b/p cuff.. Instructions are to sit quietly for 15 minutes (I did this after getting up) and stay calm and centered. Following instructions, take B/P in each arm and average the figures.. Keep a journal. 4 weeks should give you an average.

gailcalled's avatar

Cuff will have its own instructions but the ones listed below are typical...

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/heartdisease/treatment/128.html

"What do I need to do before I measure my blood pressure?

Don't use caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
Go to the bathroom before measuring your blood pressure.
Rest for 3 to 5 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Do not talk.
Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
Place your arm, raised to the level of your heart, on a table or a desk, and sit still.
Wrap the correctly sized cuff smoothly and snugly around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should fit snugly, but there should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
Be certain that the bottom edge of the cuff is 1 inch above the crease of your elbow."

bluescientist's avatar

Blood pressure does vary over the course of the day. Taking your blood pressure at the same time each day may cut down on variability.

gooch's avatar

You should take your blood pressure in the morning. It will typically go up during the course of the day for numerous reasons. Diet and stress are big reasons. If you take it every morning you should get good consistant readings.

Modern_Classic's avatar

I think the point of all these answers is that there is no one best time to take BP. Instead, take a number of readings over time and calculate the average. You can also calculate the standard deviation and other statistical goodies. You're doc will love that.

c_harris08's avatar

the best time is when your sleeping, according to news week

bluescientist's avatar

I like the idea of taking your blood pressure several times a day. Perhaps when you wake up, at lunch time, at dinner time, and before you go to bed would be good times to take it. However, I would not average all of the points in a single day because it is proven that there is a circadian rhythm in blood pressure. Instead, I would average several readings from the same time on different days. You could then plot time on the x axis and blood pressure on the y axis. Standard errors or deviations are good too. You could also do a one-way analysis of variance to see if your blood pressure does statistically vary over the course of the day (it should). The real question is whether being above the abitrary limits we have set for hypertension at any one single point in time during the day is hazardous. I'm not a medical doctor so I won't attempt to answer that but I will look into circadian varition of blood pressure in hypertenion and post again later.

bluescientist's avatar

Looking at the recent literature,

A failure of your blood pressure to dip during the day has been associated with higher cardiovascular risk that can be reduced with antihypertensive therapy

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd;=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch;=17452760&ordinalpos;=21&itool;=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Also, extreme variablity in your systolic blood pressure (the high number) has been linked to greater tissue damage.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd;=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch;=17562971&ordinalpos;=7&itool;=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

c_harris08's avatar

just once a day, when your sleeping

bluescientist's avatar

well, yes your blood pressure will be lowest if you check it while you are sleeping, but this would tell you nothing about the variablity, which the research is saying is important to understand.

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