Effect of lying down, sitting, and standing on blood pressure.

In these experiments, I used a home blood pressure monitor (upper arm cuff), to measure my blood pressure in the morning, on an empty stomach.

To prepare for each set of readings, I got into position, and waited quietly for 5 minutes before taking the first reading.

I then took a minimum of 3 readings for each position, with 3 minutes between each reading. The results I show you below are the average of the readings for each position. I have also included heart rate for the three positions.

Blood pressure when lying down:

Blood Pressure Average: 115/70
Heart Rate: 66

Blood pressure when sitting down:

Blood Pressure Average: 120/79
Heart Rate: 72

Blood pressure when standing :

Blood Pressure Average: 121/78
Heart Rate: 75

As you can see, my blood pressure (and heart rate) was lowest when lying down. This is as expected, since the body is not having to work too hard to pump blood around the body, which is all pretty much in the same horizontal plane.

When the body then sits up, there is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Again, this is as I would have expected, since the body is now having to work a little harder to get the blood around the body.

Finally, when standing, there was no noticeable difference in my blood pressure from the sitting position. I had expected to possibly see a slight drop in blood pressure, though no change is not a big surprise. When you stand up, gravity causes blood to naturally wants to pool in your leg veins causing a drop in blood pressure. However, the autonomic nervous system tries to correct this by narrowing your blood vessels (which increases blood pressure) and increasing your heart rate. We did see the increased heart rate. The reason for no apparent drop in blood pressure is probably because the first reading was taken 5 minutes after standing. This would have given the body time to adjust.

About Andy

Andy writes for a number of health related sites but has always been fascinated by alternative medicine and home remedies. His deep interests in nature and the body's innate ability to heal itself (given the right condition) have lead him to a pivotal time in his life - and so, Holistic Home Fitness was born. While it's relatively new at the moment, Andy wants to build this site into a huge reference site for a more holistic approach to health and fitness.

Comments

  1. I am a diabetic and I have been told that I have high blood pressure. When the doctors put me on Diovan 160mg, I have dizzy spells, balance problems when I am home and normal work. Go into a doctor’s office and I am 180/70. I have done the blood pressure check on my home machine w/ arm cuff and I am 138/70 down to 119/60. I did a check on blood pressure standing – that was 119/61, 10 min later I sit and it was 138/68. I have been on 1/2 of my Diovan for a few years now and today after sending in my blood pressure readings, my doctor said take a whole pill. I know that I will experience dizzy and low readings. There doesn’t seem to be a doctor who treats blood pressure only. How do you get the corrected doctoring?

  2. Hello,i am a medical student and i’m having my first year of medical degree.
    In my opinion, the doctor should focus on lowering the blood glucose instead of lowering the blood pressure. As what i know, if the blood glucose is lowered than the blood pressure will also lowered.

    • Hi Ivan
      Good luck with the medical career. High blood glucose is never a good idea. It draws water out of the cells of the body, increasing the volume of blood, and dehydrating the tissues. Certainly getting blood glucose in check is essential to good functioning, and as you say, it will probably help lower blood pressure as well.

  3. Hi,

    I have a colleque who was well overweight and have high blood pressure. He refused to take medication and had a heart attack some time later. He started taking green tea(not sure which kind) on a daily basis inreplacement of whatever beverages he use to take. For no apparent reason he went to bend over to pickup some tools he felt like fainting. He immediately got his blood pressure monitor out and tested him self and it turned out his blood pressure readings were low. He hadnt changed his diet, or taken any medications. The only thing changed that week was he started green tea. Since then, his been having relatively normal blood pressure readings one should have….

  4. anan abdelhadi says:

    my blood pressure is much higher in lying position than standing position : 170 /85 lying and 130/70 standing . presently i take diovan 80 and tenormin 50 . my doctor do not seem to take action !!!!

  5. Hello, I take care of an eldely woman, who is 96yrs. old. I take her b.p. sitting and standing. I am trying to figure out why her b.p. is higher when “sitting” than when she is “standing”
    She is on several different medications including blood pressure medicine.
    If you could help me out, i would appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Hey Lisa, your 96 yr old client may have Orthostatic Hypotensin. This is a condition that when a person stands up the BP suddenly drops. If the person has Idiopathic Orthostatic Hypotension it means that the cause for the drop is unknown. I’m a nurse but actually the reason I know about this disorder is because my grandmother has it! It’s very important to stand up slowly to prevent dizziness caused by the drop in BP.

  6. Perhaps the blood pressure is more when sitting as the blood as more bends it has to go around and hence more pressure to pump it through the circulatory system.

  7. Stan Schurman says:

    I agree somewhat with Corey in that there might be slightly more pressure on the circulatory system when sitting. I’ve found that my BP can fluctuate quite a bit over a series of 5-6 readings taken over a period of 10 – 12 minutes. The first couple of readings are usually the highest.

  8. When lying down my blood pressure averages 84/44. I understand that it should be lower when lying down, but I have a serious problem not wanting to get out of bed in the morning and am not sure what to do about it!!

  9. Clara Stewart says:

    I am 77 years old. I have been taking my blood pressure at home for years always standing…… My bp got so low that I quit taking my Norvasc. Low like 70′s 80′s & 90′s over 50, 60 and 70..after about a week I would get a spike like 150 , to 180 over 110.+..A nurse friend noticed I was always standing doing my BP. She said I should sit to take the blood pressure then immediately take it again standing……..So for two days now my readings have been Sitting 149/85 standing 130/84….. sitting 145/89 standing 111/74….. Sitting 125/79 standing 98/62……. What is the accurate reading??. Sitting or standing???….If it’s sitting I should be back on my Norvasc .

  10. My blood pressure has been low last week and I’ve been suffering with dizzy spells and feeling faint.. My last readin was 74/47 lying down but when I stood up was 103/69..however my dizzy spells are when I was walkin? What should I do I’m in hospital and they don’t seem to be worried about it?

    • I’m sorry but I am not a medical doctor and even if I was, it would be irresponsible of my to offer advice over the internet. Talk with your doctors and see why they are not worried about it.