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I rarely worry about my blood pressure

How Accurate Are Those Blood Pressure Machines At Your Local Pharmacy ? I rarely worry about my blood pressure and normally only have it checked twice a year (at the local VA clinic), but last Sunday I was at a local Rite Aid Pharmacy with a friend and decided to use their free blood pressure machine. The first reading was 138 over 67 (heart rate 69). That didn’t sound right so I waited a minute and did it again. The second reading was 107 over 68 (heart rate 63). I did it a third time and the reading was 99 over 63 (heart rate 60). Should there have been so much variance within results within a few minutes time? Could your blood pressure drop 40 points in just a few minutes time? Could the machine be giving false readings? It s hard to pick a best answer here because the replies run in every dirrection. So please don t feel slighted if your replie isn t selected.
Wed, 16 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
They aren't accurate. That's why there's a notice next to them saying "not for diagnostic purposes." Why are they inaccurate? 1. The cuff might be the wrong size. These machines have a standard size cuff, and if your arm is too big or too small for the cuff, you'll get an incorrect reading. 2. You put your arm too far into the cuff, or not far enough into the cuff. 3. You tensed up or held your breath (without thinking) while you were in the machine. 4. Blood pressure can vary as much as 20 points within a few minutes. So can heart rate. 5. Taking your blood pressure repeatedly can cause inaccurate readingns. The cuff does compress your blood vessels, after all. My students practice on me, and my blood pressure can vary as much as yours does in your description. Bottom line? Those blood pressure machines can be inaccurate.
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