Accuracy of bp machines in pharmacies

How accurate are they? My dr. took mine today and it was 130/90 and he told me to check at the store. I did, 3 hours later, and it was 110/68. I wish this were true. My son took his after I did, and his was 128/80. A man before me took his and the machine didn’t seem low.

The machines in the pharmacies I’ve worked at is pretty accurate, but they do have their problems. One of the biggest issues is that a blood pressure cuff isn’t “one size fits all”, if you have a large, or small arm then the reading from the machine will not be accurate.

Blood pressure does vary throughout the day, and especially with what you’re doing, if you’ve had caffeine lately, cigarettes, and other drugs can affect your BP. Also, if you aren’t sitting down with the cuff at the level of your heart, with both feet flat on the floor (no sitting on a exam table where your feet don’t reach!), the result won’t be as accurate as it should be.

Also, remember that “White Coat Hypertension” is a real issue. There are plenty of people who have a higher blood pressure when at the doctors office then they do in normal life, even if they don’t have any anxiety about doctors.

That’s me. I’m 122/65 in the office, but at the pharmacy I’m never over 114. Hell I’ve got two white coats as parents and I STILL get nervous.

I wish I was 122/65, thats excellent!

I’m only 23, I have a long road ahead! Time will tell if I got my dad’s genes (high BP in his late 30’s) or my mom’s BP (115 and she eats WHATEVER she wants).

One time last week the machine told me 72/43. The pharmacist said, yah you’d be passed out if that were accurate.

Mine varies depending on whether the nurse is male or female.

That’s not what you’re supposed to be using the compression cuff for. :wink:

I’ll say. I had to go get stitches and part of the sign-in process at the ER was a series of question, then they took my blood pressure and temperature.

In previous threads, I may have mentioned that I’m a regular platelet donor. My blood pressure is tested once a month on an assortment of machines at the donor clinic. It’s usually about the same range.

At the ER, was WAY higher than I’d ever seen it. And I wasn’t particularly stressed or anything either, I was amazed.

Anyway, IME the BP machines at pharmacies yield results similar to what I see at the blood donor clinic, with slight variances depending on the time of day and what I’ve eaten.

I took mine once and it was 163/90-something. My BP is high but not that high, so I took it again immediately and it was 143/85. That still seemed high so I did it a third time and it was 132/76. So I quit while I was ahead.

I think my arm is too big for the cuff at the machine, though. It’s snug even before it starts inflating, and it actually gets kind of painful after a while.

Tried it today and it was 101/54.

two different pharmacy BP machines put me at 115/75 and 118/74, but at the dr’s it’s always 130/80 or 130/90. In those cases I’m always aware my heart rate is elevated too.

I use them often and get pretty consistent readings that are also consistent with what is measured in a doctor’s office. It’s not rocket science.

That’s how my mother discovered she had an undiagnosed hole in her heart. She knew she had high blood pressure and her doctor recommended testing it occasionally at the pharmacy. She got a series of very different readings, but up and down, then she went to a different pharmacy to try a different machine and got the same strange readings. Her doctor sent her for an echogram, and they found the hole.

I’ve found that most blood-pressure machines in pharmacies are reasonably accurate. I find the doctor’s office to always be elevated which makes me go :dubious:. I tend to think it’s human error. At Blood Services Canada they take people’s blood pressure tens of times a day and they have it down to a science. It’s also automated, but the cuff isn’t looked in plastic frame, so it adjusts to fit you properly for an accurate reading. My blood pressure reading on the Blood Services machines is almost always within the same basic range, which is about the same as the pharmacy machines. But in my own doctor’s office, the reading can really vary quite a bit, and I don’t believe I’ve ever had the same nurse do it more than once. I trust the machines more than the nurses at the doctor’s office.

Pretty much hit the nail on the head there.
White Coat Hypertension

I was shadowing at a family practice for a while, and we used machines to check BPs and people would have elevated BPs all the time and they’d say “Well it’s always normal at the store!” and so forth- when that’d happen, we’d manually check the BP as it’s a bit more sensitive. Also, anyone with BP that came out unusually high or abnormal (or just over 200 systolic) would automatically get rechecked several times by the attending and other doctors around as it’s a bit more sensitive with a human ear listening for the bumps vs. the machine.

So yeah- I’ve noticed the phenomenon too- and it’s not just a “human error” thing, but we had plenty of patients on the machines have elevated BP- it’s just the being in a medical setting, getting blood work done, sick people around you sorta environment that causes some people a little extra stress.
-Which is why for diagnosing hypertension we try to take multiple readings, spread out over several visits- as we want to identify a trend vs. just a singular elevated reading- though if it’s high enough, emergency actions may need to be undertaken right then and there, especially if the person is at risk for strokes.

It doesn’t help when they use the old fashioned method of holding your hand under their arm.

I hope the machines are accurate. I started new bp medicine and if the machines are accurate, its working wonderfully.

Oooh, pain sure does it! I was at the ER in August with a severe case of pharyngitis - my throat was so swollen and painful I hadn’t eaten or taken fluids in 2 days and was starting to have trouble breathing. The ER semi-admitted me for 6 hours with a private room and bed (nice hospital!) and hooked me up to a machine that took my vitals every 30 minutes for the duration. BP at “admission” - 190/120!!!

BP after IV fluids, steroids and morphine, 6 hours later - 114/72.

And those auto-inflate cuffs? Ouchy.