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Forum Name: Hypertension

Question: high initial BP reading... normal second


 boo1234 - Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:33 pm

Why is it that whenever I take my blood pressure, it's always high? Usually it's something like 139/82. If I take it again 10 minutes later, the BP drops to 115/69. Can someone please explain this? Thanks
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:31 pm

User avatar Hello -

There are a number of possible explanations for this. What is termed "white coat syndrome" usually takes place in a clinical setting and it is assumed this is why the anxiety-driven initial high readings take place. Of course anxiety can exist in other settings as well, and if there is concern over one's BP to start with, this could possibly be the explanation.

Another possibility is that you walk into the room where you take your blood pressure, sit down and just take it, after having been up and active. One ideally should be sitting, relaxed, for a couple minutes before taking the reading, as the first one is likely to be higher due to the activity involved in arriving at the place where the reading is taken.

Some people run lower than what you've quoted as your initial reading when active, but many do not, so if you try sitting quietly for a moment or so before you take your reading you may find this makes a difference. There's no other logical reason for this to happen. It has to involve something that makes the cardiac output higher the first time, even if it's something you've just stopped doing -- or anxiety, which can have the same effect. Are you concerned about your blood pressure or other circulatory problems? If so, this could be the cause. In any case, waiting a couple minutes in a relaxed state should make the difference. Try it and let us know if it makes a difference.

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