Guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology call for a patient to be seated in a chair with feet flat on the floor, their back supported and the arm wearing the blood pressure cuff supported at heart level. Doing so helps ensure an accurate reading. But many health care professionals take blood pressure measurements while the patient is seated on an examining table, leaving their legs to dangle and their back and arm unsupported.
“That’s not conducive to taking blood pressure accurately,” said researcher Dr. Randy Wexler, a primary care physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. He will present the research on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions conference in Philadelphia.
Being misclassified with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, can lead to “people undergoing treatment who don’t need it,” Wexler said. “People may not need to be on as much medication, which has side effects. That’s where having good and accurate blood pressure measurements becomes important.”
Where and how you sit matters when getting blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office