Getting accurate cholesterol and blood pressure readings
Many folks report hearing Jimi Hendrix's lyric "excuse me while I kiss the sky" as "excuse me while I kiss this guy"! It is funny to get lyrics wrong, but it's no laughing matter if your cholesterol and blood pressure readings are inaccurate.
So, for an accurate cholesterol blood test:
-- A 2019 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found it isn't necessary to fast before your blood test to determine if you're at risk for cardiovascular problems -- but it can't hurt. Ask your doc.
-- Eating, drinking, exercising and med-taking should be the same the day before the test each time you have it, so you're comparing apples to apples.
-- Tell your doc if you've had a fever or felt ill recently and what meds you're taking. Birth control pills, hormone-replacement therapy, steroids and some anti-hypertensives can raise cholesterol levels and affect cholesterol test results.
For an accurate blood pressure reading:
-- Go to the bathroom first. A full bladder can boot systolic readings by 10-plus points!
-- Uncross your legs and sit up straight. Put feet flat on the floor, not dangling over the edge of the exam table. Make sure your arm is supported on a flat surface and at heart level.
-- No talking.
-- Make sure the cuff isn't too small or your sleeve isn't too tight when scooted up your arm.
-- If your blood pressure is elevated, ask for a second reading at the end of your appointment. That minimizes white coat syndrome (that's blood pressure that's elevated at the doc's office, lower at home).
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.