Blood pressure


New Member
Ok, something strange just happened that worries me...

I was at the grocery store and decided to get my blood pressure checked with the little machine and it was 160/something. That is really high, higher than the FAA will allow as far as I know, even for a 3rd class.

I'm 24, 6'1 175 and in decent shape (IE not overweight). I workout a little, don't eat all that well (but not horribly - about the only fast food i have is quiznos and chick fil a), but what the heck?

The machine did squeeze the crap out of my arm (it actually feels a little "dead" now - like I've been lifting a lot of weights). I hope it was messed up, but its got me worried now.

Right now I have a 3rd class (2.5 years old), and getting it was probably the last time i've my BP checked, and the guy didn't mention my BP as being high or high-normal, so I assume it was fine then...
I don't know how much I'd trust a grocery store BP checker, but thats just me...

If you know someone who has the equipment (nurse, paramedic, etc.), you might ask to have them check it for you.

Hope everything turns out OK for you!
Those grocery store BP machines are ridiculously inaccurate. They are not built to the same tolerances that medical-grade BP machines are built to.

Had you been walking around the store prior to using the machine? That little bit of activity may have been enough to temporarily raise your pressure.

If you're really worried, and depending on the resources in your area, find your local ambulance service, and ask one of the crew to check your pressure. A pair of ears is infinitely more accurate in measuring blood pressure than a machine is.
Yeah, I would see if you can get your blood pressure checked anywhere else. And I doubt if those grocery store machines are really that accurate or kept in a condition that would keep them accurate. They probably get treated like a lot of the trainers at flight schools!
I had almost the same thing happen to me, and then it started to freak me out which just makes it worse. If you were at all apprehensive about it, it will greatly affect your score..I ended up getting mine check professionally and then bought a home device. Mine is consitanly 120/80 or better. Try realxing and thinking good thoughts or reading something so your not freaking out while getting a reading. This is quite common in pilots I found out...b/c we have so much riding on good results.
Yeah, what they said.... and don't have your AME be the one that double checks your blood pressure.
Cuff size can affect it a lot too. I remember getting mine checked at one of the grocery store ones once, and it said something like 170/90, which worried me. A friend of mine (who is in good shape) tried it, and he scored a 160/90, or something like that. No worries.
I'll get it checked at the clinic at work today (I'm not a pro pilot so no risk there)... I think maybe it was too small for my arm (I'm not huge but definately larger than average) since it really squeezed my arm alot harder than I think it should have (it hurt - that can't be normal)...

Hopefully everything is OK... now I'm nervous about it which may compound the problem... maybe getting a home kit from radioshack would be a good idea... the good thing is that if it is high I have 6 months to get it down before I have to renew my medical.
Yeah I know what you mean!

Scared the hell outta me when I saw that my blood pressure was above average. But thats the thing.....blood pressure never really remains constant and is always fluctuating.

I got no idea how accurate those machines are, but I got one and it always gives me different results in every reading.

To those peeps who got their Class 1 Medicals, do you know if the AME would take anxiety into consideration when they take a reading for your blood pressure? I would have thought they would have some tolerance because we would all be quite stressed out when taking a reading, as we need good results.

I think the only thing you can do is do a lot of Cardiovascular activity and work out as much as you can.

I do mainly weight lifting and strength training but I also run quite fast on the treadmill for 15mins, 3 times a week... Dunno if thats enough to keep the blood pressure stable. Any advice here would be good!
Having High B/P myself I check it often. The ones at the store are horrible. 20+ points off sometimes. Any local fire station will check it for free. Then you can know what it is correctly. Also, Sitting vs. Standing vs. laying down all effect the measurment.
To those peeps who got their Class 1 Medicals, do you know if the AME would take anxiety into consideration when they take a reading for your blood pressure?

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Absolutely they do. The guy I go to is a pilot himself, so he knows what kind of stress folks are under when they come in. Mine is always higher than normal when I go in there, and he understands.
Ok, I got one of the little machines from Radio shack, and so far the highest I've seen is 161/90, and the lowest 123/64. After playing with it the last couple of days, I can almost control what the pressure is going to be (it seems to be about 90% a function of how nervous I am).

I'm going to start running, because it is a little high (average of about 135/75), but I think I can pretty much learn how to relax to get decent numbers for my next medical exam....

Thanks for the responses, guys... I'm not worrying about it anymore.

Also I recommend that anyone who is worried about it get one of the little machines, it was $50 from radioshack and I think it was definately worth it...
Good stuff. I might have to look into that, as my BP is normally a bit above average. Then again, doctors also know that not everyone has 120/80. Some people have higher than average, and that's fine. Some people have lower than average, and that's fine too. Bodies are different.
Several years ago, I was in the grocery store with my grandfather and he decided to plug in to one of those things. It told him his pressure was 280/160 or something in that vicinity. I looked at him and said, "Congratulations, you're dead!"

Get a doctor or nurse or other trained person with an actual sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope to check it for you.