A recent study confirmed that the doctor’s office may be one of the worst places to determine if your blood pressure is under control. The automatic rise in tension many people experience when they are being scrutinized contributes to artificially high blood pressure readings. Although many times the only way improve one’s blood pressure is through treatment (such as medication, a low salt diet, and weight loss), other times I’ve seen a simple 10 second relaxation routine drop a patient’s blood pressure reading by up to 20 systolic points. The following may help you obtain a better, more accurate reading the next time you have your pressure checked in the harried office.
1) Insist on being seated for at least 3 minutes before your pressure is taken. Even walking from the waiting room back into an examining room will briefly increase your blood pressure.
2) Take several deep, relaxed breaths in and out before the doctor begins to check your blood pressure.
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*This blog post was originally published at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles*