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Does the position of my arm and body matter?

If yes, then how?

What's the best body position for measuring the blood pressure?

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While trying to measure the blood pressure, the physician is most likely interested in measuring the pressure inside the left ventricle of the heart. So it is necessary that the Sphygmomanometer and the cuff should remain at the level of the heart. If it is above the level of heart, the reading is likely to be low, and if it is below the heart, the reading is likely to be high. Also, the blood pressure varies with the posture of the body in which the measurement is taken. So the blood pressure value that exists in most guidelines (for example JNC 8) is measured in the sitting position. Hence the value we are intenting to measure is the one with the patient is sitting position, back supported, legs uncrossed, and upper arm bared. The diastolic pressure is high in sitting position, and systolic pressure is high in supine position. Not supporting the back will increase diastolic pressure, while sitting cross legged increases systolic pressure. This is due to the inherent mechanisms in the human body to maintain perfusions to certain organs. The detailed biomechanics is beyond the scope of the present discussion though.

Reference : New AHA Recommendations for Blood Pressure Measurement

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  • I just want to add another recommendation. Even if you're taking your blood pressure at home, don't talk, as it can affect the reading. It's a strict instruction from my cardiologist, and is included in the article cited here by @Rana Prathap, as well as this from the Mayo Clinic. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL May 18 '15 at 18:28
  • Thanks for the addition @Sue. I did not mention that because the question was specifically asking for the body positions. :) – Rana Prathap May 19 '15 at 4:40
  • I apologize. After I wrote that I realized I probably shouldn't have, because, as you said, it wasn't part of your question. I appreciate you not flagging against me! I'd be happy to delete it (and this) if you'd like! :) – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL May 19 '15 at 15:40
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    @Sue That may not be necessary. Your comment would still be helpful for someone. – Rana Prathap May 20 '15 at 8:48

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