You feel fine, and your blood pressure readings are looking good – until you arrive in the GP surgery. The clinical smell and blue floors send your blood pressure through the roof. Sound familiar? You might be suffering from ‘white coat syndrome.’
It’s normal for unfamiliar or stressful environments to inflate blood pressure readings – and this is a problem we’re hoping to take on at Suvera 💪. We know that measuring blood pressure can be uncomfortable, and that you might not always get the support you need to do it. We want to make it easy for you to take your blood pressure from home, comfortably, and at a time that suits you – and send it straight to your GP.
But we do know that your first time using Suvera might feel a bit unfamiliar too. That’s why we’ve gathered a few tips to help keep you calm in the moment you’re using Suvera.
1. Clear your mind
There are countless studies showing meditation has a marked effect on stabilising blood pressure too – as you’d hope from an activity that’s supposed to relieve stress. Meditating regularly can lower blood pressure long-term. Even five minutes of sitting still and focusing on your breathing can have a significant impact on your readings.
Try this short five-minute guided meditation before taking your blood pressure.
2. Skip on your morning coffee
Coffee can be good for you – it’s packed with antioxidants. But too much caffeine can cause a short, sharp rise in blood pressure. And you can find caffeine in smaller amounts in black and green tea, chocolate, cola, and even ice cream.
No one expects you to completely abstain from all caffeine, but it’s best to avoid it in the few hours before taking your blood pressure. Caffeine tolerance can vary quite a lot, but most people should stay under a maximum of 200mg a day. This works out to about four cups of ground coffee.
3. Spend some time with furry friends
With close to 50% of Brits having some sort of pet, we know that pets make many of us happy. But did you know that giving your dog some much-needed belly rubs can lower your blood pressure by 10%?
We definitely aren’t advocating that you get a pet just to lower your blood pressure. However, if you do have one, spend 10 minutes snuggling on the sofa with them before taking your blood pressure. You might be surprised by how much they can destress you.
4. Say no to salt
It’s no secret that excess sodium in the diet causes an increase in blood pressure. If you’re extremely salt-sensitive, these can cause quite dramatic rises in blood pressure – even in the short-term.
We’re not going to lie to you – excess salt does make food taste better. Pre-packaged, processed and restaurant foods are the biggest culprit for excess sodium. Cooking at home with fresh ingredients makes it much easier to make delicious meals, while keeping your sodium levels low.
BBC Good Food has a range of low-sodium recipes you can try out.
We’d love to hear from you – do you have any simple tips for staying calm when taking your blood pressure?
Share them with our patient community in the comments below.