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Casual Blood Pressure (CBP) Testing

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blood pressure cuff
© CQUniversity 2021

Prior to a blood pressure being taken, the client should be seated quietly for 5 mins with both feet flat on the floor. No smoking or caffeine 30mins prior.

Systolic (the top reading) – is the pressure exerted on artery walls as heart contracts

Diastolic (the bottom reading) – is the pressure remaining in arteries when the heart relaxes

At least two measures should be taken and averaged out.

BP Classification Systolic Diastolic
Normal <120 <80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension >159 >99
This short optional video shows how to take blood pressure safely:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Factors Affecting Blood Pressure

Short term/temporary influences

  • Cuff size is too small, the cuff is placed over clothing, forearm unsupported during the reading, arm positioned below the heart
  • Emotional state – anxiety & stress can ↑ BP
  • Smoking – nicotine is a stimulant ↑ BP
  • Alcohol, caffeine, other stimulants ↑ BP
  • Exertion – heavy lifting, holding something heavy, exerting force can ↑ BP
  • Full bladder can ↑ BP
  • Talking while a reading is being taken can ↑ BP
  • Dehydration ↑ BP
  • Temperature – cold rooms can ↑ BP.

Long-term influences

  • Regular cardiovascular exercise ↓ BP
  • Healthy eating ↓ BP (i.e. sat & trans fats, salt intake)
  • Decreasing body fat % ↓ BP
  • Genetics/family history can ↑ BP OR ↓ BP
  • Medications can ↑ BP OR ↓ BP
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders ↑ BP OR ↓ BP
  • Regular overconsumption of alcohol ↓ BP
  • Smoking ↓ BP
  • Long-term chronic stress ↓ BP
  • Peripheral resistance – hardening of arteries ↓ BP
  • Overweight / obese / high cholesterol ↓ BP
  • Kidney disease, diabetes, anaemia, atherosclerosis ↓ BP.
© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Client Onboarding and Fitness Testing

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