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How should you get your blood pressure checked -- while sitting, standing or lying down?

Now you will know why your position when you take a blood pressure reading is so important.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : March 3, 2016 5:56 PM IST

Ever wondered why your doctor prefers to take your blood pressure reading in sitting position and not lying down (unless it is necessary)? There is a reason for this. Your position while checking blood pressure has an impact on the reading. A Turkish study done in the year 2007, researchers tried to check blood pressure in a different position, and it showed different readings during the course of the experiment. There were four positions that were taken into consideration during the study:

  • Sitting position: Where blood pressure was measured from the left arm bent at the elbow and supported on the heart level of the chair.
  • Standing position: After one minute of recording the blood pressure in sitting position, it was recorded in standing position with the arm supported at elbow and the cuff at heart level.
  • Supine position or lying down: After one minute of the standing position, blood pressure was measured in the lying down position.
  • Supine position with crossed legs: After one minute again blood pressure was recorded in the same position with legs crossed.

What was the conclusion

Taking all the reading of the individuals into consideration it was seen that the systolic and diastolic pressure (i.e. both the upper and lower reading) was the highest when taken lying down. Hence the study concluded that while assessing blood pressure it is important to take the position of the patient into consideration. Also, blood pressure measurement should be taken in sitting position with the arms supported at the right level.

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Here are few rules to follow while measuring blood pressure at home when alone:

  • Sit at a comfortable position (ideally next to the table) with your feet resting on the floor, back straight and arms flexed at the elbow, resting at heart level. Don't keep your legs crossed.
  • Next, keep your forearm on the table with your palms facing up.
  • Make sure that you have emptied your bladder, as a full bladder can affect your readings.
  • If you need to record your blood pressure every day do it at the same time.
  • Don't smoke or drink at least 30 minutes prior to taking your blood pressure reading.
  • Always, keep a record of all your readings along with the time and date.


1: E er I, Khorshid L, G ne UY, Demir Y. The effect of different body positions on blood pressure. J Clin Nurs. 2007 Jan;16(1):137-40. PubMed PMID: 17181675.

Image source: Shutterstock

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