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Sit And Relax for Accurate Blood Pressure Test

Wednesday, 26 April 2006 12:00 AM

The next time you have your blood pressure measured make sure to sit down in a comfy chair and relax for five minutes beforehand.

A new study from the University of Virginia found that resting in the chair for at least five minutes lowers systolic blood pressure readings by 14 points.

Melly Turner, RN, and her colleagues studied 100 adults who got blood pressure tests at the ambulatory cardiology clinic.

Participants were 63 years old, on average. Their blood pressure was checked while they sat in two positions:

--in a chair with back support, both feet on the floor, arm supported at heart level.

--on an exam table, legs dangling, with no back support. In each position, participants had their blood pressure checked immediately and after waiting at least five minutes.

Systolic blood pressure -- the top number in a blood pressure reading -- was lower when sitting in a chair compared with sitting on a table.

Systolic readings averaged 14 points higher when blood pressure was checked immediately after sitting on the exam table compared to the sit-in-a-chair-and-wait strategy.

The average systolic blood pressure reading was 133 when patients had their blood pressure checked immediately after sitting on the table. It was 117 when patients waited in the chair for at least five minutes before the exam. Waiting on the exam table helped somewhat, but not as much as waiting in the chair.

The researchers found no significant differences in diastolic blood pressure, the second number in a blood pressure reading. The American Heart Association currently recommends the sit-in-a-chair-and-wait strategy, and the new findings support that advice.

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The next time you have your blood pressure measured make sure to sit down in a comfy chair and relax for five minutes beforehand. A new study from the University of Virginia found that resting in the chair for at least five minutes lowers systolic blood pressure...
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2006-00-26
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 12:00 AM
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