Measuring BP at doctor’s office

Q: Is there a reason why most doctors’ offices use a digital device to measure blood pressure rather than the manual type? When I was younger the nurse would hold your arm to heart level and take your pressure, now they just put the cuff on and press the button with the arm hanging which gives me higher numbers. Does it matter where the arm is placed?

A: I do not know what type of equipment is the most frequently used to monitor blood pressure in the office setting. However, it is important that blood pressure be taken properly to get an accurate reading. Many articles have suggested that blood pressure is frequently not measured correctly, even in a doctor’s office. The American Heart Association position is that the upper arm should be supported at the level of the heart. You should discuss your experience with your doctor. You will be doing the practice a great service.

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