A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-pressure-cuff/AN01926
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus hypertension specialist
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.read biographyclose window
Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.Sheldon Sheps, M.D.
Dr. Sheldon Sheps, emeritus professor of medicine and former chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1960.
Dr. Sheps, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, native, is board certified in internal medicine and specializes in hypertension and peripheral vascular diseases. He developed a multidisciplinary approach with specially trained nurses, dietitians, technicians and educators to help form a team approach to the treatment of patients with abnormal blood pressure.
"I have always believed in involving the patient and family in their health care," Dr. Sheps says. "I have asked for their understanding of the illness and issues and for participation in decisions. The Web is a natural extension of that, and now many more people can be informed."
Dr. Sheps chaired the sixth working group, and he participated in the fourth, fifth and seventh groups that developed the then-latest guidelines for hypertension under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). He helped write the latest American Heart Association (AHA) report on blood pressure measurement. He chaired an AHA group that produced an online accreditation for blood pressure measurement for health professionals.
Dr. Sheps has co-authored books, newsletters, CD-ROMs and other Mayo Clinic health information material. He joined Mayo Clinic's Web team in 1998. He was medical editor-in-chief of both editions of the "Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure" book; the last edition was published in 2003. He was also medical editor-in-chief of "Mayo Clinic 5 Steps to Controlling High Blood Pressure," published in 2008.
In addition, Dr. Sheps was section editor for each of the first three editions of "Hypertension Primer" for the American Heart Association.
Dr. Sheps was also chairman of the Science Base Subcommittee and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, and he was a consultant to the Hypertension Initiative of the World Health Organization. In 1997, he was honored with the Individual Achievement Award on the 25th anniversary of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program of NHLBI. In 2009, he was honored as a Distinguished Mayo Alumnus.
- Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
- Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?
- White-coat hypertension: When blood pressure rises at the doctor's office
Risk factors (2)
- Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
- Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
- Pulse pressure: An indicator of heart health?
- Caffeine: How does it affect blood pressure?
- Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?
- Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern?
- see all in Causes
- Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
Treatments and drugs (7)
- Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
- After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
- Blood pressure medications: Can they raise my triglycerides?
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Lifestyle and home remedies (11)
- Weightlifting: Bad for your blood pressure?
- Blood pressure medication: Still necessary if I lose weight?
- Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
Alternative medicine (2)
- L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
- Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?
Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?
Does cuff size affect blood pressure readings?
from Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.
Using a blood pressure cuff that's too large or too small can give you inaccurate blood pressure readings. Your doctor's office should have several sizes of cuffs to ensure an accurate blood pressure reading.
Also, when you measure your blood pressure at home, it's important to use the proper size cuff. The inflatable part of the blood pressure cuff should cover about 80 percent of the circumference of your upper arm. The cuff should cover two-thirds of the distance from your elbow to your shoulder.
If you're concerned about the size of your cuff or your blood pressure readings, talk to your doctor. He or she may check your blood pressure several times with the same, appropriately sized, cuff in the same arm. Averaging multiple readings taken during the same visit should give your "true" blood pressure at that point in time.Next question
L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
- Sheps SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 7, 2013.
- Choosing a home Blood Pressure Monitor. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/Choosing-a-Home-Blood-Pressure-Monitor_UCM_303322_Article.jsp. Accessed March 6, 2013.
- Fuster V, ed. et al. Hurst's The Heart. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed March 6, 2013.
- Pickering TG, et al. American Heart Association scientific statement: Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals. Hypertension. 2005;45:124.