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DIY Blood Pressure Screening: Read It Right!
These days anyone can measure her BP with a blood pressure cuff and a smartphone. And if going to the doctor seems to make your heart rate jump, you may get more accurate numbers on your own; in one study, women's systolic blood pressure was, on average, 13.5 points higher at the doctor's office. To get the most reliable numbers every time, keep these three rules in mind.

For precise readings, once a month at the same time of the day, measure your blood pressure three times in a row and take the average of those numbers. (Shoot for the time when you're most relaxed.) Fluctuations in BP throughout the day are normal, and consistency will help ensure accuracy.

Don't drink coffee before taking a reading. Studies show that caffeine can temporarily boost your numbers by 3 to 15 points.

Wait 30 minutes after exercising to give your BP a chance to stabilize. During vigorous exercise, systolic blood pressure can shoot up as high as 220 mm Hg.
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