Don’t drink coffee before a blood pressure test
Your blood pressure will be probably be taken at a checkup, so avoid coffee right before your appointment: it could affect the results. “Using coffee or other caffeine such as energy drinks or colas within an hour of having your blood pressure measured can make the number artificially higher,” says James Dewar, MD, vice chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “The same goes for tobacco products and over-the-counter decongestant medications.” Don’t miss everything you should know about coffee and high blood pressure.
Don’t eat a high-fat meal before getting blood drawn
You should also skip the fettucini alfredo before a regular blood workup. “If you wouldn’t normally have a high-fat meal, then don’t do it, so your physician can get an accurate picture of your health,” says Deepa Iyengar, MD, associate professor of family and community medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and an attending physician at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Unusually large meals could skew test results. In fact, you may need to avoid eating in general. “If your blood work will include a measurement of cholesterol or other fats, it is best to avoid any calories for eight to ten hours before the test is drawn,” says Dr. Dewar. “Your blood sugar and certain fats in the blood called triglycerides can be increased for a bit after you eat.” And you may not have a choice: you’ll probably be told to fast and only drink water before a regular blood workup, says Dr. Iyengar
Do drink lots of water before a physical
In general, it’s a good idea to hydrate before seeing the doc for a checkup. “Being well hydrated at the time of a physical will make your pulse and blood pressure at their best,” Dr. Dewar says. “If you are having blood work or urine testing done, being mildly dehydrated can cause artificial abnormalities in the testing that can confuse the results.” You do want the doctor to picture your normal lifestyle, but you should be drinking lots of water anyways.
Do eat as you normally would before a checkup
You don’t need to change your eating habits before an annual appointment, even if you want to seem healthy. “Your providers would like you to be honest and upfront about your lifestyle and diet so they can have an accurate history of your health and provide you with the best possible care,” says Gregory John Galbreath, MD, a PIH Health physician in Whittier, CA. After all, a few days of healthier eating probably won’t matter. “It takes a long time for a diet to change cholesterol and blood sugar, so a dietary change of a few days or meals isn’t going to do much,” Dr. Dewar says. Changes occur over the long term, so just eat healthy as often as you can.
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