Study: Blood pressure readings more accurate when taken lying down

According to a new study, the days of taking blood pressure readings while sitting up is over. New research suggest that readings taken while lying down may be more accurate.

A study containing 11,369 adults from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) group, published by the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2023, found people with high blood pressure while lying down were at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death from all causes, even if their blood pressure was normal while sitting.

“If blood pressure is only measured while people are seated upright, cardiovascular disease risk may be missed if not measured also while they are lying supine on their backs,” lead study author Duc M. Giao, a researcher and a 4th-year M.D. student at Harvard Medical School in Boston, explained.

Researchers believe lying down may help relax the blood vessels and allow for a more accurate blood pressure reading. In some cases, participants who had “high blood pressure while supine but not while seated had similar elevated risks as participants who had high blood pressure while both seated and supine.”

Another study published by PLOS One found people with high blood pressure while lying down were likelier to have white coat hypertension — where blood pressure rises artificially when taken in a clinical setting.

“Our findings suggest people with known risk factors for heart disease and stroke may benefit from having their blood pressure checked while lying flat on their backs,” Giao said.

According to the World Health Organization, “raised blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths.” With heart disease numbers climbing, its important to talk with your doctor about any concerns especially pertaining to high blood pressure.

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