Sunday, January 29, 2017

Painful Blood Pressure Tests

I've noticed that since doctors have begun using the automatic blood pressure equipment that they have become increasingly painful and my blood pressure has been higher. The last doctor suggested prescribing blood pressure medicine if it remained high.

After doing some research I found that this is an increasing problem for people who have larger upper arms because the adult cuff is too small. In fact the one that was used yesterday (an adult one) was 2" smaller than my arm causing both pain and numbness in my fingers when it was expanded. Apparently many people have been prescribed medicine to lower blood pressure medicine when in fact it's the tight cuff and distress during the test that's causing their blood pressure to rise.

Take a look at the size chart and if you need a larger cuff tell the doctor. Ask them if you can look at the cuff to make sure it's the correct size. A one size doesn't fit all in this case. Also test your blood pressure at home to see if it coincides with the numbers resulting from a doctor office visit.

Read an article about cuff size here

Measure your upper arm before going to the doctor, write it down and take it with you showing both inches and centimeters. Check the cuff at the doctor's office. If your arm is more than 13.4 inches you will need the Adult Large Cuff.

  • Regular Adult Cuff: 27-34 cm, up to 13.4 inches
  • Adult Large Cuff: 35-44 cm, 13.8 inches to 17.3 inches
  • "Thigh" Cuff: 45-52 cm, 17.7 inches to 20.5 inches

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Any information in this blog should not take the place of medical advice from a professional. I am simply sharing my journey.