Blood Pressure: sitting compared to laying down.

Frank Russo - June 12, 2011.

Most of the times that your blood pressure is measured, it is done whilst sitting down with the arm drooping onto a table. Rarely, a pillow is used to raise the arm a bit... however, whilst the middle point of the upper arm might be parallel and in line with the position of the heart, the rest of the arm is not. It is therefore not surprising that the measurements done whilst laying down might be a fraction lower, as there is less gravity to counter.

However, it's a different proposition if you rest the elbow on the shoulder of a chair, and make the whole arm parallel and in line with the heart thus eliminating any gravity issues. You will then find that in measuring whilst laying down on a flat bed, the heart might actually have a pressure which is at close to 10 units higher than sitting with the arm on the shoulder of the chair, with a heartbeat which is about 10 percent lower. This is understandable as it would be less stressful for the heart in the laying down position, requiring less effort and manifesting itself in less pumping with a still higher pressure than on the shoulder of the chair.

One should always do these comparative measurements, as a lot of medications can cause postural deviations of pressures which are abnormal... if one is always measuring the blood pressure the same way, these deviations might remain undetected and go on to damage you!

Blood pressure is very important: it should be well maintained especially for the benefit of the eyes in diabetics... ophthalmologists like it below 140/80.

Frank Russo.

Some of my recent articles on blood pressure: