HomeBlogNew Study Suggests Lying Down for Blood Pressure Readings Could Improve Accuracy

    New Study Suggests Lying Down for Blood Pressure Readings Could Improve Accuracy

    New research presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2023 in Boston suggests that getting your blood pressure taken while lying down may provide more accurate readings, especially for individuals with high blood pressure. These findings, though preliminary and yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, have raised important implications for better identifying patients who may require treatment.

    Dr. Stephen Juraschek, the senior study researcher, who is also a general internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, expressed surprise at the results. He believes that these findings could aid physicians in more accurately predicting future stroke, heart issues, and mortality rates among patients with high blood pressure.

    For adults, the standard blood pressure readings are systolic (less than 120 mmHg) and diastolic (under 80 mmHg), according to guidelines from the AHA and American College of Cardiology. Blood pressure can vary throughout the day, making nighttime measurements particularly reliable.

    The study involved an analysis of 11,369 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, who had their blood pressure taken while both lying down and sitting. The participants, averaging 54 years of age, were monitored for a period of 25-28 years, with individuals who had prior heart issues or stroke being excluded from the study.

    The results revealed that individuals with high blood pressure solely while lying down faced a significantly higher risk across several health parameters, including a 53% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, a 51% higher risk of heart failure, a 62% higher risk of stroke, and a 34% greater chance of all-cause mortality compared to those with normal blood pressure in both positions.

    Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, commented on the study, noting its thoroughness and the consistency with previous research linking nighttime blood pressure to heart disease and stroke. Siegel also highlighted that gravity can affect blood pressure when sitting or standing, potentially leading to less accurate readings.

    Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, a professor of medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, who was not involved in the study, suggested that supine blood pressure might be as significant a predictor of cardiovascular outcomes as seated blood pressure.

    The findings imply that physicians may miss high blood pressure if measurements are taken solely from patients in a seated position. However, further research is needed to validate this hypothesis. One limitation of the study is that patients were required to lie down for approximately 20 minutes, which is not typically the case in a doctor’s office. Additionally, other factors like relaxation and fluid distribution in different positions could also influence the results. Nevertheless, this study suggests that checking blood pressure while lying down might be a simple yet valuable assessment for individuals to consider, both for personal monitoring and in a screening context.


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