I know it is best to measure BP while sitting and at rest but I participate in a rare blood donation program and am often deferred because my sitting blood pressure is below the acceptable range for donation (90/50). At one recent visit someone suggested that I stand for the blood pressure measurement. My sitting BP was 88/46. The pressure taken immediately after standing rose about 14 points in both the systolic and diastolic readings. While my pressure now fell within the normal range for donation the blood center staff became concerned because of the difference between the standing and sitting pressures and I was still deferred.
Since then I've read about 1 minute and 2 minute standing pressures. Is it possible that my standing pressure was just taken too soon after standing although I always thought standing BPs were supposed to be lower? If a standing pressure is taken is it more accurate when taken after a certain length of time? I'm grateful I don't have a problem with my BP but want to be able to continue in this blood program without being deferred regularly for my BP.
Blood pressure is a dynamic variable and a blood pressure reading at any given point is only a "snapshot" of a "motion picture". The typical response to standing is a very brief slight drop in pressure followed by a slight increase above sitting after about a minute or 2. Standing still for a prolonged period may result in an additional drop in BP. In someone who is dehydrated there may be a pronounced drop in blood pressure with standing. Methods for elevating blood pressure would include increasing fluid and salt intake, exercise immediately before taking blood pressure and various medications (including real licorice which is not generally available in the US).
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