Here’s the right way to read your blood pressure


There’s a chance you may have now high blood pressure when just a week or so ago you didn’t.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology last week released a new standard for what constitutes high blood pressure. It used to be 140/90, but now it’s 130/80.

At the same time the group also suggested that some health care workers may not be getting correct blood pressure readings when they strap that cuff around your arm. They suggested things you can do to ensure your blood pressure reading is accurate, something important to you as a truck driver needing a DOT medical card.

Here are some pretty simple suggestions from an article that appeared on NPR’s Shots medical blog on how to get the most accurate reading of your blood pressure. The article suggests you:

  • Do: Sit in a chair, feet flat on the ground, legs uncrossed, with your back supported and without talking, for at least five minutes before you get your blood pressure measured.
  • Don’t: Exercise, consume caffeine or smoke within 30 minutes of your test.
  • Do: Empty your bladder before your blood pressure is taken.
  • Don’t: Sit or lie on the exam table. This could give a false low reading.
  • Do: Roll up your sleeve so the blood pressure cuff rests on bare skin, not clothing.
  • Don’t: Let your arm dangle or rest in your lap during the reading. It should be supported on a surface such as a desk.