General Question

sharpstick's avatar

Are variations in blood pressure readings in the same sitting normal?

Asked by sharpstick (532points) February 25th, 2011

I am taking my blood pressure regularly and have noticed that if I take multiple readings one after another I will get significantly different numbers. Example:

Left Arm

Is this is normal? Which numbers should I use?
Is the device I am using going bad?

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9 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Yes, variations are normal, particular if you take the second reading immediately following the first one.

When you take your blood pressure you squeeze a band of pressure around your arm. It takes a couple of minutes after doing that for your arm to relax back to its initial state so the second reading will generally be a couple of points lower.

That being said, the variation in the readings you show are not that big.

WasCy's avatar

How soon in succession are you taking the readings? There is normal variation anyway, but as @YoBob says, there’s going to be even more variation if you don’t let enough time lapse between readings. Usually your monitor / cuff device will tell you how long to wait between readings, after exercise or eating, etc.

It also helps if you can rest your arm on a pillow or stack of pillows to raise it sufficiently and hold it completely relaxed and at the proper elevation relative to the rest of your body.

sharpstick's avatar

@WasCy – I am taking the reading one after another.
What is the proper elevation? I usually sit in my office chair and rest my arm on the desk.
I assume I should use the first reading as the most accurate one.

faye's avatar

I’m an RN and would love to have your blood pressure. Those variations are normal. Your body is doing thousands of processes, some change your BP a little. Change of 10 or more on the bottom number and 10–20 on the top number that lasted a week or more could be told to your doctor. BP changes with excitement, stress, big meals, lots of exercise and then settles down again. Have your arm at a comfortable level for you.

jca's avatar

Maybe also because when you first sit down, your bp will be a little higher, and the longer you sit and relax, the lower the bp will go. So if the third reading was 10 minutes after the 1st, that’s 10 more minutes of sitting and relaxing.

flutherother's avatar

Your blood pressure readings look very healthy. There is a new device for reading blood pressure that may soon be widely available and which promises to be more accurate than what we have now.

gasman's avatar

That degree of variation is normal.

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