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 Checking blood pressure
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  11:04 AM                       Like
I'm guessing that this is the right forum, since I could totally ignore my blood pressure when I was younger, but now have to pay attention to it...

My doctor wanted me to stop by the local medical center to get a blood pressure check to make sure I'm on track. I stopped in last week, after managing to miss two days of the blood pressure medication I'm supposed to take once a day, and after doing a couple of other things that tend to make the number go up. And my numbers were a bit high.

So I paid better attention to doing everything right for a week and went back. I got a much better number, in the "desirable" range, not just "normal". But I had them check it twice, out of curiosity, and the number varied by 15 points when checked 2 minutes apart. Higher the second time.

I then realized that there is a blood pressure machine where I work, that I can use any time I want, so I checked it there right after returning from the official check, to see if the numbers were close. They were close enough.

I then checked it later in the day a couple of times and watched the numbers go up a little.

So what I'm curious about is why two blood pressure readings, taken by a machine, can vary by 15 points when taken just a few minutes apart?

I would think that if the results vary that much, the best thing to do would be to take a bunch of readings and sort of plot the trend. Okay, I would probably have a sore arm after doing that, but I at least would expect a more accurate overall number.

On a side note, most pharmacies or grocery stores with pharmacies in them have blood pressure machines that you can use by just sticking your arm in the cuff and pushing the button. They even have a "clear" button so your results aren't left there for everybody to see.

Edited by - rayg50 on 09/07/2013 10:58 AM

gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  11:43 AM
For accuracy, you need to wait at least 5 minutes between readings when taking blood pressure measurements on the same arm.
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Daddio
Male Advanced Member
775 Posts
[Mentor]


Calera, AL
USA

Suzuki

Bandit 1250

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  1:46 PM
I have high blood pressure. When ever I go to the doctor and the nurse takes my pressure it is x over y. 30 minutes later when my doctor checks it, it is always down by at least 10 sometimes 15 points. I always blame it on the nurse because she is always prettier than my old doc.

Joke aside - that has been my case for over 10 years.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  2:36 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

For accuracy, you need to wait at least 5 minutes between readings when taking blood pressure measurements on the same arm.

Can you explain why that is the case?

I don't understand how measuring pressure affects that pressure.
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Axiom2000
Male Moderator
1761 Posts
[Mentor]


Georgetown, Delaware
USA

BMW

F 800 GT

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  2:44 PM
After the recent heart attack I was placed on two kinds of blood pressure meds. I go to three doctors every three months now, My family guy says my blood pressure is too low, Hypotensive 98/55 last week at his office, the Rhumatologist agrees it's usually the same range when I go there. My cardiac guy says if I don't have any dizzy spells he is happy with that number but on my last visit there he took me off one of the blood pressure meds. Yeah I am now down to only taking 13 pills a day except on Wednesdays when I have to take the 6 methotrexate pills for the Arthritis.

I thank my lucky stars every day that when I turned 65 a few years ago I decided to go with the best supplemental plan available to supplament medicare. I Would be in the poor house if I had to pay for all these drugs on my own. Some of the class of meds I take for the Arthritis known as Biologics are pushing $1000 a month.

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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  3:10 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

For accuracy, you need to wait at least 5 minutes between readings when taking blood pressure measurements on the same arm.

Can you explain why that is the case?

I don't understand how measuring pressure affects that pressure.



It is what I was taught when studying emergency medicine, and is a bit complicated. You may wish to begin your search here, http://www.bing.com/search?q=interv...&form=MOZSBR
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  4:58 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

It is what I was taught when studying emergency medicine, and is a bit complicated. You may wish to begin your search here, http://www.bing.com/search?q=interv...&form=MOZSBR

Ummm....

The first link, at the National Institute of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art.../PMC2941726/

Said:
quote:
Conclusion

The 1-min interval between HBP readings gave a closer agreement with the daytime average BP than the 10-s interval.

It sounds to me like one minute is enough, but 10 seconds isn't.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  5:29 PM
If you read the first 20 or so citations you will find lots of research, findings and opinions.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 08/30/2013 :  6:14 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I find that information about 'normal' and 'desirable' blood pressure readings is hugely variable, based on the patient and the professional.

Like many here, I have chronic high blood pressure and am on a daily regimen of BP medication.

Before I started that medication I had no symptoms of any kind, but had an episode where I had to be taken to a hospital because my BP sky rocketed (no idea why) where my systolic reached 210!

My most recent readings are 122 and 68, but my 'average' measurements are in the low 130s and mid 80s.

My doctor is VERY HAPPY with my averages. He claims that a slightly higher than 'normal' BP condition is EXCELLENT defense against STROKES as opposed to the more 'normal' readings. My cardiologist would rather see 'normal' readings.

I do distance walking most days of the week and water aerobics twice a week, but I won't eat my fries unless they are salted.
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radan2
Male Advanced Member
1117 Posts
[Mentor]


Jacksonville, NC
USA

Moto Guzzi

2007 Breva V750 ie

Posted - 08/31/2013 :  7:16 PM
Your heart responds very quickly to changes in conditions. To prove this, if you have a home BP kit, check yours while you are sitting at your computer right now, then get up and walk around in your house, from room to room, sit down again and immediately check your BP again. You will see a noticeable change. You can even cause your BP to spike by flexing your biceps or squeezing a tennis ball. That is why you usually need to have two readings, with some time between them, so that whatever conditions might have affected your BP at the first one will have had time to pass.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/01/2013 :  1:30 AM
I am always reminded of my posture, told to relax and coached into a seating/arm position as part of the ritual for my BP check at the Dr office.
That indicates the same results/variables as times I asked dad if I could do something special, didn't like his answer so I went and asked mom.

Years ago in 2000 to 2004, my routine was walking miles around a medical campus including checking multiple stairwells and sometimes even jogging up and down them while uniformed with a duty belt (and toys) and a medium weight ballistic vest.
This extra 22 lbs put me at 190 in those days and I even bicycled on mountain trails for recreation. BP considerations were as worrisome as being hit by an asteroid.

At 52 years come November, a desk job for the past 9 years and less recreation, I'm mindful of the cholesterol and BP pills but I think of it as a personal failure in my case. I'm not sure family history should be counted in my case if it is my lifestyle choices that could be the difference in meds / no meds. Those two dreaded words - (proper)Diet and exercise.

If your Doctor has his/her office located on Road Rage Blvd, I feel for you. Just don't knowingly game the system by jogging around the building 4 times ten minutes before you walk in the door !

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bkikkert
Male Advanced Member
847 Posts
[Mentor]


Cornwall, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

Ultra Classic '08

Posted - 09/02/2013 :  5:48 PM
Here are a few tips for taking blood pressure readings:
-You should measure your blood pressure twice daily, once in the morning before you take any medications, and once in the evening.
-Always use your left arm when taking your blood pressure.
-Your blood pressure is at its highest first thing in the morning, so it might not be a good idea to measure it after you wake in the morning. Wait an hour or so. If you exercise after waking, take your blood pressure before exercising.
-Avoid food, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement. Also, go to the toilet first. A full bladder can increase blood pressure slightly.
-When you are ready to take your blood pressure, sit quietly for three to five minutes beforehand. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported against a chair. -Rest your arm, raised to the level of your heart, on a table, desk or chair arm. You may need to place a pillow or cushion under your arm to elevate it high enough. Place the cuff on bare skin, not over clothing. Rolling up a sleeve until it tightens around your arm can result in an inaccurate reading, so you may need to slip your arm out of the sleeve.
-Don't talk while taking your blood pressure. Take a repeat reading two to three minutes after the first one to check accuracy. You can wait as little as one minute in between your readings. The reason for waiting is the arm must settle down after having the cuff tighten around it.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 09/02/2013 :  9:55 PM
quote:
-Your blood pressure is at its highest first thing in the morning, so it might not be a good idea to measure it after you wake in the morning. Wait an hour or so. If you exercise after waking, take your blood pressure before exercising.
Do most take their medication in the morning or at night before going to sleep?

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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  3:57 AM
In my case, I'm pretty good about remembering to take my meds, (cholesterol and BP) and part of that was developing a routine. Working midnights 5 nights a week and having my 'weekend' as Tues and Weds nights off, lots of things in my life are anything but routine.
I usually take them after something to eat if not a regular meal and this is anywhere from mid morning to early afternoon. This also fits with a near bedtime for me when I either sleep for the long haul or at least get in a few hours of napping so I count it as taking before I go to bed.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  8:35 AM Follow poster on Twitter
quote:
Do most take their medication in the morning or at night before going to sleep?
I take mine in the morning, with breakfast and in the evening with dinner. I take a total of seven different meds for a total eleven pills a day (5 Am and 6 Pm). I have alarms set on my phone to remind me and I use a 7 day pill organizer with two rows of compartments (AM & PM for each day)
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  8:54 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

quote:
Do most take their medication in the morning or at night before going to sleep?
I take mine in the morning, with breakfast and in the evening with dinner. I take a total of seven different meds for a total eleven pills a day (5 Am and 6 Pm). I have alarms set on my phone to remind me and I use a 7 day pill organizer with two rows of compartments (AM & PM for each day)



7 meds,, Man if one of them isn't a memory pill that's impressive and you're way ahead of me (cognitively speaking).
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  9:48 AM
I have two sets of pills I take, 2 in the AM for blood pressure, one of which is actually a combination of two drugs! One of the drugs is a diuretic so that's why it's an AM pill. If I took it before bed I would be up half the night making trips to the bathroom!

In the evening I take my lipid meds (2) plus a low dose aspirin.

I got taken off the anti-platlet meds in July after the one year anniversary of my stent installation. My cardiologist and family doctor are debating removing one of the BP meds as my BP has been "low average" for a while. They credit losing 3o pounds for that.

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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  10:32 AM
How did this mutate into a pill taking thread?
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  10:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

How did this mutate into a pill taking thread?



By Ray50 asking this question:

quote:
Do most take their medication in the morning or at night before going to sleep?

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Daddio
Male Advanced Member
775 Posts
[Mentor]


Calera, AL
USA

Suzuki

Bandit 1250

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  4:43 PM
For many of us, part of having high blood pressure is taking medication. Can anyone relate how taking their medication at a certain time of day affects how their blood pressure readings check out?



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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  5:46 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

How did this mutate into a pill taking thread?



My Doctor would respect that question.

His practice is of the mind to ween people from meds wherever possible or not get them on meds if they can avoid them.
My wife works there and she tells me he'll mention some success by stating he has had some patients drop off certain meds and other Dr's don't understand. He has to explain to some of them that meds are not always a permanent and the right education and a willing patient can turn things around just by making some changes. This would seem to present the idea that many Physicians are as set in their ways as we are and it's easier for them to solve the issue with meds than attempt proper education and a trial period. Let's face it, Dr's have limited face-time with patients and it may get worse.

I'd be willing to bet a one year commitment to 'proper' diet and exercise could get tens of thousands of people off certain meds while saving them a bunch of out of pocket costs/co-pay.

I was asked if I could control my eating toward healthy choices and my wife helped me realize it was easier/safer to rely on a pill versus my known and proven track record and behavior. This is why earlier, I considered my case as a personal failure. Given the willpower, I might attain healthy stats that would negate meds.

Scott, this was not meant to challenge or answer your question... it just diverted my thoughts a teeny bit.

Edited by - bachman1961 on 09/03/2013 5:52 PM
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