All You Need to Know About Blood Pressure Monitors and How They Work
According to a report published in Outlook, one in four Indians suffers from high blood pressure. Only half of them are diagnosed, and only 10% of them have made efforts to keep it under control. Keeping a check on your BP now is not only advisable for all, but one should get this done regularly.
What is Blood Pressure-
The force of blood on our artery walls is called blood pressure or BP. Arteries are those blood vessels in your body that are responsible to carry oxygen and other nutrients from your heart to tissues.
If you or anyone in your family has the very common lifestyle problem of BLOOD PRESSURE, then it is advisable to keep a constant check and keep a tab on fluctuations. Ideally, a balanced diet and some exercise should be part of everyone’s daily regime, along with a daily check of BP, as ignoring it for long can have very serious repercussions.
What factors determine BP
- The amount of blood pumped by the heart
- The diameter of arteries
Generally, the narrower the artery, the higher the blood pressure.
How to monitor your blood pressure level at home?
There are two very popular kinds of equipment –
- Aneroid Monitor: These are the traditional ones that you see in a clinic, many still find this the most satisfying way to measure your blood pressure.
- Digital Monitor: These are easy to read and readings come in digits and are fast. They are now very popular, as it is easier to use them even several times a day.
How is BP Measured?
Blood Pressure is measured both ways, once the heart contracts, (called Systolic Pressure) and second when the heart relaxes (Diastolic Pressure). Systolic Pressure of 115 mm of mercury is considered normal, as is Diastolic Pressure of 70 mm of mercury. Normally this world be called – 115/70 reading.
Stressful situations cause BP to rise, and if a person’s readings are consistently 140/90, or higher would be called suffering from High Blood Pressure.
Understanding how BP Monitor works
Traditionally, doctors used only an air cuff and a stethoscope to listen to arterial wall sounds, this method is still adopted by physicians where there are very limited resources, but modern times have given us better monitors, which not only give us accurate readings but which can be done at the comfort of our homes.
Understanding a digital BP monitor is very easy – it has an inflatable air cuff or band (usually black), these cuffs also have two variants – one for the upper arm, and one for the wrist. Other attachments to the BP monitor are - an air pump, and a sensor to monitor air pressure. This sensor plays the main role in sensing arterial wall vibrations to measure BP in an artery.
Role of the cuff or band:
This cuff or band tightens with air and stops your blood flow. The pressure is then released from this band, and when the blood flow resumes again, the sensor at this point collects data for BP.
Role of sensor
When the blood flow resumes in the arteries, it is a bit rushed flow, because it resumed after an obstruction, this, in turn, causes vibrations in your arteries wall, and this vibration helps the sensor to collect data on flow and pulse. The sensor is located in your cuff itself.
Benefits of BP monitors at home:
Regular readings help in keeping a tab on your health condition and prevent some serious health issues like stroke and heart attack. A home monitor is not only easy to use, but would save you from unnecessary outings and bills at clinics. Keeping a regular tab is easy with home monitors, and even advisable for people who need to measure their BP 4-5 times a day. If you go to the gym, or go for a jog or run, it is also advised for such people to keep a regular check on their BP.
Unattended BP conditions have many repenting with hospitalizations and organ failures later. Better to keep a tab on your health and change your diet or exercise regime accordingly.