Don’t drink coffee before a blood pressure test
iStock/yktr If you’re going in for a regular doctor visit, you’re probably going to have your blood pressure taken. So it’s best to avoid coffee right before your appointment because 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.” Here are more doctor appointment mistakes you don’t know you’re making.
Don’t eat a high-fat meal before getting blood drawn
iStock/lauraag You might want to avoid the fettucini alfredo or double cheeseburger 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. Eating an unusually large meal could cause the results of your test to be skewed. 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 10 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.” You probably will be told to fast before a regular blood workup, says Dr. Iyengar, so you might not have a choice. Make sure you know the right questions you should be asking your doctor.