My blood pressure readings differ a lot when I read them while seated and while I lay down on a bed.

I tie the strap in both cases to my left bicep and rest for a minute before noting the readings down.

For example, one reading I took was:

Seated: 130-85 Laying on bed: 115-75

These were noted down one after the other.

I am not sure if there should be this much difference in the readings and is this something to be worried about.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any symptoms? $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Sep 22 '13 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ No. I don't have any. Any specific symptoms? $\endgroup$ – user4519 Sep 22 '13 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ It is expected that BP would be higher when laying on the bed than when seated. Is the cuff at the same height relative to the heart in both of your measurements? Also have you tried measuring BP when standing? $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Sep 22 '13 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ If blood pressure increases on standing, you may have some degree of orthostatic hypertension (not to be confused with orthostatic hypotension which is more common). This link might be of use: medscape.com/viewarticle/543590_2 $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Sep 22 '13 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Chris. While standing and having the cuff position at the same position relative to my heart when I took the other two readings gave a fall of around 5. $\endgroup$ – user4519 Sep 22 '13 at 11:43

I can't offer specific advice as to your personal readings, but it is normal to expect a difference in blood pressure between sitting & supine (lying down) positions.

I have taken this quote from the Department of Health Care Sciences at Wayne State University website.

Effects of body position on blood pressure

Blood pressure is commonly measured in the seated or supine position; however, the two positions give different measurement values. With that in mind, any time a value is recorded, body position should also be recorded. It is widely accepted that diastolic pressures while sitting are higher than when a patient is supine by as much as 5 mmHg. When the arm is at the level of the heart, systolic pressure can be 8 mmHg higher, such as when a patient is in the supine position rather than sitting. A patient supporting their own arm (isometric exercise) may increase the pressure readings. If the patient’s back is not supported (i.e., when a patient is seated on an exam table instead of a chair) the diastolic pressure may be increased by 6 mmHg. Crossing the legs also may raise systolic pressure by 2-8 mmHg. Arm position plays a dramatic role in value errors as well. If the arm is below the level of the heart, values will be too high; if the arm is above the level of the heart, values will be underestimated. For every inch the arm is above or below the level of the heart, a 2 mmHg difference will be found (Pickering et al. Circ 2005;111:697-716).

So if you are comparing your own blood pressure day-to-day, make sure you keep a consistent position.

Additionally, if you are reading guidelines for healthy/risk blood pressures, make sure you take this into account.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the valuable inputs Luke. I did take a few readings this morning in different positions and they are totally different than yesterday. Now while laying down the reading is more than while seated. Supine: 125-80 Sitting: 109-72 Standing: 102-70 So I guess my cuff position was not at the same position relative to my heart yesterday and that gave this difference in reading. Also, as normal reading is said to be between 100-60 & 120-80, when I saw 125-80, I was a little worried. $\endgroup$ – user4519 Sep 22 '13 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ 125/80 is nothing to worry about really. Over 140 and I'd start to worry. So if you're taking BP medication, it's working so keep doing it, but otherwise you don't need to start taking it for 125. $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Sep 23 '13 at 0:41

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