Where and how you sit can influence blood pressure reading in clinic

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When doctors check your blood pressure, how you sit can make a big difference.

Experts like the American Heart Association say to sit in a chair, feet flat, back supported, with the arm at heart level.

This setup helps get the most accurate number. However, many times, people get their blood pressure checked sitting on an exam table with their legs hanging and their back and arm not supported.

Dr. Randy Wexler from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center points out that this is not the best way to get a true reading.

The Risk of Wrong Numbers

Getting a wrong blood pressure reading is a big deal. If your pressure looks too high because of the wrong sitting position, you might end up on medication you don’t need. This can lead to other problems, like blood pressure that drops too low, which can make you dizzy or faint.

Dr. Wexler’s study found that just by sitting on an exam table instead of a chair, the blood pressure readings could be higher than they actually are. Millions of people might be wrongly told they have high blood pressure.

Improving Blood Pressure Checks

Nearly half the adults in the U.S. might have high blood pressure. It’s important to measure it right to avoid unnecessary treatment. Dr. Jordana Cohen from Penn Medicine emphasizes this. But doctors are busy.

They see so many people and have to follow so many rules that they might not always check their blood pressure the best way. Dr. Wexler thinks we need to find better, quicker ways to measure blood pressure without making doctor visits longer.

He believes it’s worth the effort because getting this right could mean better health and savings for everyone.

Dr. Wexler and his team’s findings are eye-opening. They remind us that sometimes, it’s the simplest things—like the way we sit during a blood pressure test—that can have a big impact on health care.

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