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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 - 09/03/2013 :  6:43 PM
quote:
Originally posted by bachman1961

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

And my question was rhetorical.

I appreciate all of the thoughts on this thread.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  8:54 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

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 have requested a third reading. I would take readings that many points apart (assuming no traumatic experience in between) to be either mechanical or user error for one or the other of the readings.

BTW, in doing an internet search when you first posted I found no one way to appear to be the universal "right way" or right amount of time between readings. Interestingly I found none that matched how it is done in my primary care doctors office, so I am going to keep searching.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  8:54 AM Follow poster on Twitter
If the readings are taken manually by two different people, say...the nurse and then the doctor, the difference in their hearing may account for the difference in the readings. When taking two readings, they should be done by the same person in the same surroundings (i.e. in the exam room) or with the same automated equipment to minimize the differences noted above.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  9:15 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

If the readings are taken manually by two different people, say...the nurse and then the doctor, the difference in their hearing may account for the difference in the readings. When taking two readings, they should be done by the same person in the same surroundings (i.e. in the exam room) or with the same automated equipment to minimize the differences noted above.

You have to make a special request to get a manual blood pressure reading anymore, at least at Kaiser-Permanente. Otherwise it's all done by machines now.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  12:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

You have to make a special request to get a manual blood pressure reading anymore, at least at Kaiser-Permanente. Otherwise it's all done by machines now.



That is interesting.

When I visit my Family Doctor, The nurse checks me, then the Dr about 5 - 10 min later. The Doctor's reading is always lower, by a good bit and that is what he puts in the records.

At My cardiologist office, it's a similar drill, only the nurse does the reading via an automatic machine that electronically sends the results to the computer system , then she does an EKG, then 5 or so min. later the Dr comes in and does a manual BP. The cardiologist's BP is always within 5 points +/- of the machine.

When I was in the hospital for my stent last year the every hour BP checks they did were all via a machine.

It seems to me the machines must be pretty accurate and my family Dr. knows his nurse always gets a higher than true reading!
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 09/05/2013 :  1:31 AM
I've had the same experience as most other folks reporting here - when I go to the doc for my annual checkup the initial reading from the nurse is always a tad higher than the one the doc gets after I've been sitting for 10 mins between 'em.

My BP is actually low, rather than high. I attribute that to 35 years of martial arts and the associated biofeedback. Nurse gets a "normal" reading and the doc gets a "low" one - because I've been sat on my ass automatically pulling myself into a "resting/stable" state between the two. Pulse rate and BP go through the floor as a result. (yes, I know that's a violation of Starling's law - it just seems to work that way for me)
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Daddio
Male Advanced Member
775 Posts
[Mentor]


Calera, AL
USA

Suzuki

Bandit 1250

Posted - 09/06/2013 :  2:03 PM
I was at a local chain grocery store that had one of those self service machines outside the pharmacy. I snapped this picture of the instructions/warning with my phone.



They warn that it is "normal" for blood pressure readings to vary significantly in short periods of time.

quote:
from kacinpa:

It seems to me the machines must be pretty accurate and my family Dr. knows his nurse always gets a higher than true reading!

My doc has gone through at least three nurses since I have been seeing him. His reading is always lower than any of theirs were. I am inclined to think that it is the "cool down" period between checks. I would imagine that each check is true at its point in time.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  2:48 AM
Talking to my wife the other morning, I mentioned the discussion on BP and how I try to make sense of it in my own mind when in just a few posts here, we've easily demostrated many proven methods and relayed experiences by medical professionals that leave some loose ends.

She reminded me that BP is more of range like "ebb and flow".
Stated that way, I realize that pinning it down to the likes of a snapshot once a month or twice a year it exactly the problem. Checking it at different times of the day, different situations a few days a week or even a few times a day to record a diary of sorts would provide the ebb and flow.

It may not be the best analogy but a common theme on TV police shows often mention "the totality of circumstances." Snapshots won't provide the whole story.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  6:52 AM
quote:
Originally posted by bachman1961

Snapshots won't provide the whole story.
I don't agree 100%.

Okay, once a month won't tell you anything useful, but measuring my weight once a day at the same time in the morning and measuring my blood pressure two or three times a week both help me see trends. It helps me to see whether or not I'm staying in the range that I want. I don't need to write it down to be able to see the trend.

But the experience that originally caused me to post this has made me start checking blood pressure regularly, which is a positive change for me.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  7:18 AM
Well, my point wasn't writing it down - really. It was using a few key words, range is one and trend is a good one too, one I didn't think to use though.

While you may not feel at 100% on my points, somehow you have me at 100% with your last post!


**ADDED
I had to cut out of work while typing but wanted to finish my thinking on the snapshots idea; On their own they represent peaks or valleys that may even be alarming sometimes but when linked together over weeks - months, they form the wave or ebb and flow that reveals the bigger picture ie; trend. That's what was triggered by my conversation with my wife.
In my case, my Dr specifically mentioned the word journal or something to that effect.





edited to finish thought ...

Edited by - bachman1961 on 09/07/2013 8:21 AM
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  9:18 AM
quote:
...but measuring my weight once a day at the same time in the morning and measuring my blood pressure two or three times a week both help me see trends...
I too have always monitored the trend. I think that is key. I weigh myself daily and find that my weight can vary by as much as 5 lbs during any given week. When I find the trend to be moving up I modify my eating and drinking. I'll substitute water for anything else that I might normally drink and I will stop any snacks and stick to just meals. So far so good for the last decade.

BP I don't monitor as closely only because I don't know what action I could take to reverse a trend. Periodically I do take my blood pressure at home. So far have not found a reason for concern which is fortunate. I do take BP medication and it appears to be working.

When you take your BP do you take it from the left or the right arm?
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  9:45 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
This seems like a thread that more properly belongs on a health or heart oriented web site. I have no problem with it remaining here as long as it is so popular, but I wonder if we can't slant the discussion a little toward motorcycle safety.

For example, regardless of what your BP measurements are, so long as they are not wildly out of a normal range, I wonder why there is the obvious concern evidenced by our readers.

No matter what my measurements were, except when they were VERY LOW, I noticed no indication of my BP influencing my riding behavior or ability to concentrate or situational awareness. But when my diastolic was anywhere near 60 (or less), I knew that sudden movements (even just standing up) could leave me light headed - or even force me to sit back down for fear of passing out. Now that kind of effect is scary when thinking about riding.

Why the general concern evidenced here about precise readings?
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  11:01 AM
quote:
...but I wonder if we can't slant the discussion a little toward motorcycle safety...
I think motorcycle safety is implicit in any health related discussion. Granted, the topic has been narrowed to the mechanics of taking BP but if it raises awareness I think it has good value. Since the current forum is under the umbrella of Motorcycle Safety and the OP was unsure of where to post it I have moved it to the Get Your Motor Running Chat Forum.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  11:27 AM
quote:
Why the general concern evidenced here about precise readings?
I think Scott's point about trends is a great one that IMO should assuage the concern for precise readings. If the BP monitor (or weight scale) is consistently off then while it may not be useful in knowing your BP it is still useful in identifying the trend. IMO, if the trend is for higher BP and you cannot identify a cause (i.e. stress on the job) then IMO it is time to see a doctor.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  3:33 PM
I got a little extra focused on the methods of getting accurate or consistent readings and lost track of motorcycles completely.

At least one theme that might weave into riding motorcycles is I've read plenty of reports by riders that claim their BP improved/s when they get out for those relaxing carefree spins on their bikes.

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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  7:02 PM
This originally started out more as an "aging" thing than motorcycle-specific. I just evolved into how to take accurate readings.

I've been busy out riding or I would have responded sooner.
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