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Increased blood pressure values ​​often due to errors in measurement

Increased blood pressure values ​​often due to errors in measurement


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High blood pressure value: Often faulty procedures are to blame for the measurement

Although hypertension is common, many people have no idea of ​​their high blood pressure. This can be dangerous because untreated high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for numerous other diseases. Specialists therefore advise you to take regular blood pressure measurements. However, certain errors should be avoided.

Most people know that high blood pressure should be taken seriously. Because untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. It is also important to know that increased values ​​are often based on an incorrect procedure when measuring. The German Heart Foundation points this out on its website.

Small errors can be responsible for significantly increased values

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most common diseases in Germany. In the course of the disease, complications such as stroke, heart or kidney failure can occur, which often lead to death. It is therefore important to know your blood pressure values ​​and to be able to assess them accordingly.

However, many patients are still not told how to correctly measure their blood pressure and that even small errors can be responsible for significantly increased values, although the blood pressure is actually well adjusted.

If it is then prescribed that the blood pressure drops are too strong, this may be the reason for increased fatigue or other side effects of these medications, such as feelings of dizziness or that those affected regularly get black in the face when standing up, or even fainting attacks.

The main rules

Therefore, everyone with high blood pressure should be informed about how to correctly determine their values. The Heart Foundation has summarized the most important rules:

  • When measuring blood pressure, ensure that the environment is quiet and there is no speaking. Otherwise, some people only have higher values ​​because of this.
  • It is important not to start the measurement until you have sat relaxed for five minutes (do not cross your legs). Since this five-minute rule is often not adhered to even in medical practices, the blood pressure values ​​there are often higher than in self-measurements at home.
  • The blood pressure should be measured twice in a row. The lower value of both measurements counts, which is mostly the value of the second measurement due to the decreasing tension. The Heart Foundation recommends a half to full minute break between measurements.
  • In order to obtain unadulterated values ​​for the important determination of the morning blood pressure, the measurement is carried out before breakfast before drinking coffee or black tea. It is also not allowed to smoke beforehand and you should not have taken any medication yet.
  • It is important that the cuff is actually at heart level when measuring. The Heart Foundation recommends: For an upper arm measurement while sitting, place your forearm relaxed on your lap or in front of you on a normal high table. The cuff is then automatically at heart level. (For wrist measurements, the hand is placed loosely below the opposite shoulder so that the arm is bent in the elbow joint.)
  • If you measure with a wrist device, you should check whether the values ​​actually correspond to the results on the upper arm, which is not always the case depending on the device and the person. If there is no difference, there is nothing to be said against a wrist device, especially since its handling is often easier and the models are often cheaper.
  • Basically, it must be checked whether the blood pressure measurement on the left or right arm is higher. The measurements are then carried out on the side on which the higher values ​​are shown.

How often should blood pressure be measured

How often should you measure your blood pressure? According to the Heart Foundation, more frequent checks are always recommended if, for example, a medication change has just taken place.

Depending on how quickly the levels settle to a new level (often one to two weeks), it can make sense until then to measure blood pressure daily, ideally in the morning and evening and possibly also at noon, in order to give a sufficient impression at different times of the day to get.

A note from the experts: For a precise course of the day, which also includes the important night values, a 24-hour measurement, on the other hand, is more suitable, as it is advisable from time to time for every person with increased blood pressure.

A close-knit measurement can also be recommended if there is a heat wave in summer. Because it is not uncommon for blood pressure to drop significantly under the influence of heat, especially if you drink too little at the same time.

Regular measurements can also be useful if you are changing your everyday life to a healthier lifestyle, for example doing more sports or paying attention to a health-promoting diet. Often, lower values ​​are shown, which make it possible to reduce the medication.

Important: Targeted extra measurements should be taken if there are symptoms that could be a side effect of hypotensive doses such as the symptoms mentioned above (increased tiredness, dizziness or that you get black regularly when you stand up, fainting attacks).

If, on the other hand, blood pressure has remained well adjusted for years, the values ​​do not have to be constantly checked. Depending on how often a doctor is to be seen, it may be sufficient to measure only in the days before the appointment to be able to present current values ​​for the meeting.

A corresponding sense of proportion is recommended with regard to the frequency of blood pressure measurements. Regular measurements are generally to be rated positively so that worsening blood pressure does not go unnoticed, but this should not become a compulsion in which one constantly worries about his values ​​and the next measurement.

Values ​​in the doctor's office are often higher

If the self-measured blood pressure is typically lower than the measurements in the doctor's office, this can have a simple explanation. Because one of the most well-known reasons for falsified measurement values ​​are blood pressure measurements if they are carried out by doctors.

Just because of the presence of a doctor, many people experience a more or less intense tension, which can be associated with corresponding increases in blood pressure and is referred to in specialist circles as the "white coat effect".

You should know that the effect is a very common and normal body reaction, especially when you consider the special situation you are in as a patient during the consultation and what personal issues are discussed.

Accordingly, quite a few medical doctors attribute only a subordinate importance to measurements in the doctor's office and prefer to use measurements outside the doctor's office, for example 24-hour blood pressure measurements or self-measurements at home, which should therefore be carried out very conscientiously . (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Deutsche Herzstiftung: High blood pressure: Often only errors in the measurement are to blame, (accessed: March 10, 2020), Deutsche Herzstiftung


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