Q: What’s the right way to check blood pressure?
A: Get an accurate blood pressure (BP) reading with these tips (talk to your doctor about your BP goal first):
- Check your BP about one hour after you get up in the morning, before taking your meds. If it’s high, check it again an hour after you take your meds.
- Avoid anything that might raise your BP before you check it (such as caffeine, smoking, exercise and meds that raise BP, such as nasal decongestant sprays). Urinate first, as a full bladder also can raise BP.
- Sit in a comfortable chair, with good back and arm support, and relax for one minute before measuring your BP.
- After positioning the cuff, rest your arm on a table, bent at the elbow so your upper arm is at heart level. Avoid moving or talking during the reading.
— Dr. Audrey Chun, Gerontologist, Director, Martha Stewart Center for Living, Mount Sinai Medical Center
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