Today every 3rd person in urban area suffers from hypertension. Only 42% of those who are suffering from hypertension are aware of their disease and only 38% patients of hypertension take treatment. Only 20% patients have good control of their BP, despite medications. 

Correct measurement of blood pressure is mandatory to diagnose & treat these patients effectively. 

  • Allow the patient to sit for at least five minutes in a quiet room before beginning BP measurement. 
  • Patients should be asked to refrain from smoking, drinking tea/coffee  or exercise for at least 30 minutes before measuring the BP. 
  • Patient should sit calmly with back support, feet flat on floor for 5 minutes before taking a reading. Upper arm should be bare.    
  • When taking a reading the arm with cuff should be supported on a firm surface (table or arm-rest) at heart level. 
  • The Cuff should fit snugly on the arm, about ½ -1 inch above the elbow crease. BP can also be measured in a lying position. 
  • For confirmation of diagnosis of hypertension, record  at least 3 sets of readings on different occasions.
  • Measure the blood pressure in both arms at the first visit and use higher of the two readings. 
  • In older persons aged 60 years and above, in diabetic subjects and patients on antihypertensive therapy, the BP should be measured in both, supine/sitting and in standing positions to detect postural hypotension. 
  • If atrial fibrillation is present, additional readings may be required to estimate the average systolic (upper) and diastolic (lower) BP. Sadly lot of doctors are either not aware or do not follow all the precautions. 

It is thus in the patient's interest to be aware of these precautions. Please remember that both underestimating or overestimating your BP could be harmful for you. So next time you go for a BP check up, please remember all these precautions.