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Accurate Blood Pressure Readings. It is all in the Cuff placement. A MUST KNOW before starting bp meds

Updated on July 7, 2015

Blood pressure monitoring

Proper cuff placement is very important
Proper cuff placement is very important | Source

A Must Read Before Starting Medications

Tale control of your own health care.

No on else cares about your health besides you.

We must learn to take some responsibility for our own well being.

Never be afraid to ask questions.

Mask sure your blood pressure is accurately taken before starting on medications.

Managing your Blood Pressure

Never let anyone intimidate, or scare you into taking medications you may not need.
Never let anyone intimidate, or scare you into taking medications you may not need. | Source

What you MUST know before starting any medications

Information you MUST have before starting on medications for hypertension, or more commonly known as ''high blood pressure''.

Let's start with your doctor's office visit.

A. The main thing you must understand, no matter how calm and in control you think you are:

Everyone gets nervous, anxious, tense and apprehensive when they visit their doctor for any exam, or procedure, or routine check up.

These emotions will automatically make your blood pressure higher than it 'normally' is.

B. Watch the person who is taking your blood pressure closely.

The technique is extremely important and can give a 'false' blood pressure reading if not done correctly.

Here is some simple advice and information you should know.

1. A blood pressure cuff should NEVER be placed over clothing.

  • It should always be placed directly on the skin.

2. Before you let anyone take your blood pressure, know where the stethoscope must be placed on your arm.

  • You can find out by feeling the inner part of the arm where the elbow is.
  • You know the spot where your arm closes when you flex your elbow.
  • Feel that inner area until you locate the spot where you can actually feel your heart beating.
  • Make a dot on the spot with a pen if you think you will forget by the time you get to the doctor's office.
  • Then be sure this is where the person taking your blood pressure places the stethoscope.
  • If they are not on top of that spot, kindly inform them where your "spot" is. {You know, sort of like the infamous "G" spot only this one is the "BP" spot.}
  • Every one's is not in the exact same spot.

3. The left arm is always the best to have your blood pressure taken on, unless otherwise contra-indicated.

  • It is closest to your heart.

C. Observe how the cuff is placed around your arm.

The bottom edge of the cuff should be just above the bend of the arm.

But most importantly the cuff should be gently but firmly wrapped around the arm.

Not too tight. Not too loose.

  • If the cuff is too loose you will get a false high reading.
  • If the cuff is too tight you will get a false low reading.

D. Always keep in mind that the person taking your blood pressure can be the deciding factor as to whether the doctor will prescribe blood pressure medications or not.

E. Also remember that it is ultimately your decision to be placed on medication, or not.

F. Before starting any medication for your blood pressure, the best thing for you to do is inform your doctor that you will wait one week before deciding.

It is OK to tell him why.

  • (This is of course with the exception of gross symptoms of severe high blood pressure: Pressure in your head, blurred vision, severe headache, dizziness, ringing in your ears or other unusual symptoms).

Then use that week wisely. If you don't own a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, buy them, borrow them, visit a friend that has them, or go to a public place that has one available for you to use.

Most pharmacies, and grocery stores have one somewhere in the store for the public to use. If you can't find it, ask an employee whether they have one available or not.

Take your blood pressure at least once a day. The same time each day. On the same arm.

  • {ideally, but not always practical, twice a day would be best. once in the morning and once in the evening}.
This way you can make a determination as to whether the high blood pressure readings at the doctor's office are due to the stress, apprehension, anxiety, nervousness, etc..., that you experience when you visit their office.

G. If it is determined that you in fact do need blood pressure medication -

always ask "how" it works in your body to lower blood pressure,

and know the side effects that can occur from these, or any other medications, you will be starting.

H. The "normal" blood pressure is different for everyone.

The "average" blood pressure is 120/80.

If your elevated blood pressure is deemed to be due to being over weight. Lose some weight.

It is always better for your over all health to lose the weight than take medications because of it.

It is also extremely important to know that losing weight can significantly lower your blood pressure.

If it is mildly over the average (120/80) (example: 140/90) or mildly lower (example 110/60) this could be "normal" for you.

Compare your blood pressure with other members of your family - mother/father, brothers/sisters, etc.., to get some idea what is "normal" for your family.

Keep your Doctor Informed

Always inform your doctor about ALL medications you are taking.

Although medications can be life saving at times and can help you live a longer and healthier life, they can also harm you if improperly used.

They can interact with other medications - including any over-the-counter medications that you do not need a prescription for.

Mixing medications can alter the effects that each one is meant to provide by making them stronger or weaker, or void the intended effect all together.

Always tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are taking and ask if there might be any risk of interactions between them.

Know who you can trust

The drug manufacturers are in the business of "making money".

They are not really concerned about the side effects, or whether or not you really need these drugs at all.

99% of all medications are now being made outside this country, in 3rd world countries, that really have little regard for the USA or any one person's health in particular.

The FDA can not and does not inspect every batch of medication that is imported into the united states - in spite of its claims to "closely monitor" imported goods.

So, my friends, be careful. Take the responsibility for your own health care and well being by being an 'informed consumer', and enjoy your life.

Live each day as if it is your last one.

Laughter is the best medicine for stress and anxiety.

Have a sense of humor.

You can always find some humor in any situation.

Stress is lessened when you do not keep things bottled up inside yourself.

So remember to "always speak your mind: those that matter don't mind, and those that do mind, don't matter.

by: d.william 09/18/10


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    • d.william profile image

      d.william 2 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Joe: you make a good point and that probably accounts for the lack of some of the comments. However, as i have found, there are errors on posting comments (or there were) a few years ago when changes were made to Hubpages. I lost some of the comments altogether, and there were obviously comments on some of the articles that were not even related to the article at all. They seem to have been meant to have been written on an entirely different article. That problem seems to have been corrected now.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 2 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Zach: Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments. They are always appreciated. I was a nurse for more than 40 years and have learned many nuances that are not taught in nursing/medical school. And one of them is that there is a subtle difference between the BP readings on the left and on the right arms. This is because, since the heart is on the left side of the chest, the pressure is stronger on the left side of the heart and thereby causing the BP to be higher on the left than on the right. It may be a nominal difference but when meds are prescribed for high blood pressure, it is imperative to make sure that BP readings are accurate. So, if there is an indication of high BP (or low BP) one should always check the BP on both sides for a more accurate diagnosis.

      The other misnomer is that it is OK to take someone's BP over clothing. It is not OK.

    • profile image

      Joe 2 years ago

      its because no one wants to start an account just to leave a comment.

    • profile image

      Zach 2 years ago

      The right arm versus left arm statement is inaccurate. If your blood pressure varies between your arms, there may be some type of arterial occlusion. Just feel both of your pulses... are they equal? Are both of your extremities the same temperature? There should be the same perfusion to each side, or else we would have big problems. I'm a nursing education specialist.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south


      thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Too many people are on BP meds that they probably do not need because of inaccurate readings in the doctor's office, plus the fact that everyone's BP is elevated when they visit the Doctor's office in the first place. It is not exactly the most calming place to visit.


    • profile image

      David Rose 3 years ago

      Thank you. I found the advice on the snugness level of the BP cuff something that I had not considered.

    • profile image

      blood pressure machine 4 years ago

      I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 

      and I am completely satisfied with your website. 

      All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

      Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

      turn you are sharing with each one!….

    • profile image

      blood pressure machine 4 years ago

      I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 

      and I am completely satisfied with your website. 

      All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

      Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

      turn you are sharing with each one!….

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      I am leaving a comment on my own hub to see if there is something awry. It is rather odd that there have been nearly 1500 readers of this article and not one comment. That is quite remarkable in it self. For those of you who read this, i thank you and welcome your comments.