Misreading true blood pressure by even 5 mm Hg has the potential to mislabel someone as having high blood pressure, resulting in medication the person doesn’t need. It also can result in the opposite, in which a patient fails to get necessary medical treatment.
American Heart Association (AHA) highlights 7 common mistakes in BP measurement
▪ Putting the cuff over clothing, rather than a bare arm, can add 10-40 mm Hg to a measurement.
▪ Use correct cuff size.
▪ Having a full bladder can tack on 10-15 mm Hg.
▪ Talking or having a conversation: an additional 10-15 mm Hg.
▪ Failing to support the arm at heart level can add 10 mm Hg.
▪ An unsupported back can increase a measurement by 5-10 mm Hg. That same range applies to feet left dangling from an exam table or high chair.
▪ Crossing legs means an extra 2-8 mm Hg.