What Influences Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is much like glucose levels or pulse in the respect that it can (and will) vary depending on both internal and external factors, all day long. This is why it is very common to have variation in your readings. This is also why it is important to average your readings across the day to establish an average.

Here are some of the factors that can influence a blood pressure reading:

  • BP medication
  • Other medications
  • Eating
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Recent physical activity
  • Urge to go to the bathroom
  • Time of Day
  • Asleep or awake
  • Hormones
  • Mental stress or emotions
  • Apprehension or tension
  • Not resting adequately before measurement
  • Pain
  • Hot tubs, baths or showers
  • Moving or talking during measurement
  • Environment - temperature

Cuff Sizing is Important for Accuracy

Always follow manufacturers instructions. Both sides of the cuff Velcro should be in full contact with each other, and your cuff should always be on your non-dominant arm, unless your blood pressure is consistently higher on your dominant arm. In that case always measure on the side with higher readings.  An undersized cuff will overestimate BP values.

General home monitoring recommendations

Always consider time of day (use time & date in memory function), and follow proper technique. When interpreting data, consider possible influences (meals and drinks, physical activity, emotional state)

To learn more about how to take your blood pressure accurately click here, and for proper wrist measurement technique click here.