13 Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Pressure Reading
Is your blood pressure reading suddenly way too high or too low? Other factors, aside from your health condition, may be affecting it. What you may not realize is that your blood pressure is always changing every minute as it responds to your activity, body position, mood, meals, etc. These simple things can cause fluctuations in your blood pressure between 5 to 40mmHg.
Getting the most accurate blood pressure reading is important to have a clearer picture of your health. It helps you control your blood pressure and prevent risks of serious diseases like heart disease and stroke.
To help you ensure that you're getting the right results, we've listed the 13 factors that may influence your blood pressure tests.
1. Your previous meal
Had a huge dinner the night before your consultation? The salty meals that you ate may lead to an elevated reading. To ensure that you're getting the right results, be mindful of what you eat the day before the test. Opt for a healthy and balanced diet with a lot of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
If you're doing a blood pressure reading at home, do it in the morning before your breakfast. The digestion of food may also lower your blood pressure. If you must eat first, wait for at least 30 minutes before taking the measurement.
2. Fluid intake
The amount of fluids you intake can also affect your blood pressure readings. If you are dehydrated, it can cause your blood pressure to go lower. Learn more about drinking water here to keep yourself healthy.
3. Alcohol and tobacco
Smoking can automatically elevate your blood pressure because it causes spasms of the arteries, while alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure levels. To get an accurate reading, do not smoke or drink alcohol at least 30 minutes before you take the measurement.
Exercise is good for your health. However, immediately taking a blood pressure test after working out can give you an elevated reading. After exercising, relax for 30 minutes first before taking your measurement to get proper results.
Your commute to the doctor can also influence your blood pressure reading. If you got stressed because you were stuck in heavy traffic on your way to your consultation, your blood pressure can be higher. So before taking the measurement, relax for 10 to 30 minutes to bring your blood pressure to a more normal level.
Remember to place the cuff on your bare skin when having your blood pressure measured. Putting the cuff over clothing can affect your systolic blood pressure from 10 to 50 mmHg.
Anxiety can cause a huge increase in your blood pressure. So, don't think about stressful things while taking the exam. There is also something called white coat syndrome, wherein the patient gets a higher blood pressure reading when the test is done in a doctor's office. You may ask your doctor about it before taking the measurement.
8. Not resting
It's important to relax for a bit before having your blood pressure reading. Rest quietly in a comfortable chair for at least five minutes before taking a reading. This ensures that your previous activity will not affect your systolic blood pressure measurement.
9. Full Bladder
Having a full bladder can also give you an elevated reading. Before you take the measurement, make sure to empty it. A full bladder can increase your systolic blood pressure measurement by 10 to 15 mmHg.
Don't worry about small talks with your nurse or doctor while taking your blood pressure reading. Studies have shown that your systolic blood pressure may increase by 10 to 15 mmHg if you're talking during the test.
11. The way you sit
Your sitting position can affect your blood pressure as well. You must sit on a comfortable chair with your back supported and your feet lying flat on the ground. Do not cross your legs, and make sure your arms are supported as well. Getting your measurement while standing or when your feet are dangling can cause an elevated reading.
12. Your arm position
When taking the test, your arms should be totally relaxed. Your blood pressure cuff must be level with your heart, and your arm must be positioned on an armrest or counter. If your arm is too low or too high, your blood pressure reading may not be accurate.
13. The blood pressure cuff
You must also use the right blood pressure cuff when taking a reading. Using a smaller one can raise your blood pressure by 10 to 40 mmHg. Make sure that you are comfortable with the cuff you're using to ensure accurate measurement.
Hello. This is Dr. Ben, Chief Medical Advisor here at Healthy Habits Products, pointing out something important that you may not realize about the toxins in your body.
Most people believe that having a healthy heart is either a matter of good genetics ("he’s just lucky") or a strict diet ("I just have to give up salt").
The truth is, genetics and food choices are NOT the root cause of your struggle to rid your body of the risk of heart disease and a potential heart attack or stroke, no matter how hard you try. Your high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and high blood sugar have little to do with bad genes or ANY of the most common things believed to cause heart disease.
Your struggle to protect and even heal your heart comes down to 3 little-known factors that your doctor might not even know about!
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Sugar is necessary for survival. Blood sugar (or, blood glucose) refers to sugar that’s introduced into the bloodstream to supply needed energy to all the cells in the body. Our bodies are made to regulate those levels, making sure they’re neither too high nor too low.
Unfortunately, sugar is made from the food we eat. Our digestive system breaks down carbs from food and sends them straight to our bloodstream as glucose, a simple sugar that converts to energy. However, glucose can only enter the cells via insulin.
Unbalanced insulin levels result in either type 1 diabetes (also known as insulin sensitivity, or too low levels) or type 2 diabetes (too high levels).
This means, the higher your insulin levels, the higher your chance of diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease that literally damages the structure and function of your heart.
Insulin doesn’t care whether your blood sugar is at a healthy level. Its only concern is that you do not starve and have the ability to produce energy for your body to burn.
The big, ugly problem: Unless you do something to “short-circuit” this biological need to feed your cells, you’ll never have the heart health you want and deserve.
It begins with maintaining your insulin levels, because modern living—along with diets full of refined sugars and other challenges—have made it so most of us are nearly insulin-unbalanced all the time. This not only makes eating right nearly impossible, it also makes choosing when and how often to eat MUCH harder.
Think about the last time you were ravenously hungry? You began to feel weak and dizzy, right? You began to feel yourself shutting down—and that’s exactly what insulin issues can do.
Whether you’ve heard of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) or “good” cholesterol (HDL), I assure you. They’re having a MASSIVE effect on the health of your blood.
LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it creates plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries, making them less flexible. (This is known as atherosclerosis.) Eventually, a clot can form, blocking a narrowed artery, often resulting in heart attack or stroke. Another condition called peripheral artery disease can develop when plaque buildup and narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs (usually the legs). Either scenario often results in death or life-altering consequences.
HDL cholesterol is considered good because it aids in removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries. Scientists believe HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and safely back to the liver, where it’s broken down and passed from the body.
A healthy level of HDL cholesterol will protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
Without properly balanced cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, your heart valves become restricted with plaque buildup, and that leads to a damaged and unhealthy heart. All this combined begins to affect other parts of your body and internal organs because they are starved of needed oxygen and blood that is pumped to them by your heart. After years of unhealthy eating, unbalanced cholesterol and blood-sugar levels all over the place, your overall heart health begins to deteriorate. In worse cases, not protecting your heart health can lead to major damage resulting in the need for heart surgery or a heart transplant. In the worst case, deteriorated hearth health can lead to death.
And it gets worse with each passing year, not only making it harder to avoid heart disease but actually causing you to GET A HEART ATTACK OR STROKE—no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
Your stress levels increase. The number you see on the blood-pressure monitor goes up and perhaps worst of all, you begin to live your life in complete fear and feel like your heart is a bomb waiting to go off.
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This is pretty disheartening for anyone looking to maintain healthy blood levels and transform their heart health.
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Dedicated to helping you achieve Healthy Habits®!
Chief Medical Advisor
Healthy Habits Products Inc.
1. Mayo Clinic staff; Diseases and Conditions, Type 1 diabetes, Definition; The Mayo Clinic; 2014: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/basics/definition/con-20019573
2. No authors listed; “What Is Diabetic Heart Disease?”; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2011: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dhd
3. No authors listed; “What Is Atherosclerosis?”; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2015: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atherosclerosis
4. No authors listed; “What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?”; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2015: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad
5. Mayo Clinic staff; “HDL cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol”; Mayo Clinic; 2012: http://www.mayoclinic.org/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388
6. No authors listed; “Who Is at Risk for Heart Disease?”; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2014: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw/atrisk
7. Akilen, R., Tsiami, A., et al.; “Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial”; Diabetic Medicine; 2010: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20854384
8. Allen, R., Schwartzman, E., et al.; “Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis”; The Annals of Family Medicine; 2013: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24019277
9. Leech, J.; “10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon”; Authority Nutrition; 2016: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon
10. No authors listed; “Antioxidant capacity of 26 spice extracts and characterization of their phenolic constituents”; Journal of Agricultural http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16190627
11. No authors listed; “Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide”; WebMD; 2014: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-cinnamon
12. Azimi, P., Ghiasvand, R., et al.; “Effects of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Saffron, and Ginger Consumption on Markers of Glycemic Control, Lipid Profile, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Patients”; The Review of Diabetic Studies; 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26177486
13. Plaisier, C., Cok, A., et al.; “Effects of cinnamaldehyde on the glucose transport activity of GLUT1”; Biochimie; 2011: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3019305
14. No authors listed; “Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Medications”; WebMD; 2016: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/side-effects-high-blood-pressure-medications