Is Your Blood Pressure Higher at the Doctor’s Office?

Your blood pressure is often one of the first things that your healthcare provider checks when you come in for an appointment. That’s because it’s a good indicator of how hard your heart is working to pump blood throughout your body. If your blood pressure is typically high and you’re diagnosed with hypertension, your heart is working too hard and putting your arteries as risk for damage.

Sometimes, your blood pressure results may be higher at the office than they are at home. It’s confusing, but it happens, especially because factors like stress and activity can temporarily affect your blood pressure.

“This is a common issue, to have situational elevations in your blood pressure,” said Matthew Rennels, DO, family medicine and sports medicine physician with ProMedica Physicians. “But it’s also possible that you could be incorrectly checking your blood pressure at home.”

To get an accurate blood pressure reading, Dr. Rennels recommends the following:

  • Use a properly sized cuff that sits above the arm
  • Avoid exercise or physical exertion 30-60 minutes before checking your blood pressure
  • Avoid stimulates such as caffeine and cigarette smoking before checking

If your readings are still off, let your healthcare provider know.

“It’s a good idea to bring your cuff into your next appointment and keep a close record of your blood pressure results for your next appointment as well,” said Dr. Rennels.

Watch Dr. Rennels answer this question on 13abc’s Ask the Expert.

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