My Blood Pressure Is Highly Variable. Which Reading Should I Use?

Dr. Blumenthal answers the question: 'Which Blood Pressure Reading Is Best?'

— -- Question: My blood pressure is highly variable. Which reading should I use?

Answer: It's very common for people to have variation in their blood pressure readings. It's important to go over with your doctor or health care provider what the different readings are. We like to emphasize the readings that are obtained when someone is sitting still for five minutes in a relatively quiet room. Blood pressure when we first get up, or after we've done a lot of physical activity, will tend to be higher, and our national guidelines are based upon resting blood pressure measurements, when people are sitting in a comfortable position for five minutes.

So it's important to talk to your doctor about potential spikes in blood pressure, but the ones that the physician will tend to focus in on are going to be the ones where a person has been sitting still for at least five minutes and then having their blood pressure assessed.