How is Blood Pressure Measured?
Blood pressure is measured through the use of a sphygmomanometer, otherwise known as a blood pressure meter. The procedure begins when a medical professional wraps its cuff around your arm, inflating it to a point where it will constrict so much that it will hamper blood flow within your artery. The professional will then place a stethoscope over it as he deflates the cuff, listening for the sound of the blood as it starts to flow through the artery once again. The gauge attached to the cuff – scaled in “millimiters of mercury” (mmHg) – will assist in reading accurately.
Blood pressure is usually represented by two numbers joined by a divisive slash in the middle (x/y). The first measurement, called systolic pressure, indicates the reading when blood was first heard flowing. The latter reading, called diastolic pressure, indicates the reading when blood flow can no longer be heard.
Many use automatic monitors – also called electronic or digital monitors – to be able to easily track their blood pressure even when they’re at home. It works similar to how the sphygmomanometer does, only this time, only one button press is needed and the results will be delivered within a minute or two without the need for the assistance of a qualified professional.
Why Check Blood Pressure?
First and foremorst, it’s a measure of maintenance. Ideally, we should keep away from high blood pressure as much as possible as it could develop into more serious issues over time. Someone who has thick, narrow artieries (as those with high blood pressure do) are more susceptible to clots, which in turn can cause an episode of a heart attack, a stroke, or even long-term diseases such as kidney issues or dementia.
To know whether or not our blood pressure levels are acceptable, we have to know what the readings mean. Learn more by checking the chart below:
|Blood Pressure Measurements|
|Normal||Systolic: <120 mmHg Diastolic: <80 mmHg|
|Prehypertensive (at risk)||Systolic: 120-139 mmHg Diastolic: 80-89 mmHg|
|High||Systolic: 140 mmHg or more Diastolic: 90 mmHg or more|
Take note that those between 120/80 and 140/90 have are close to becoming hypertensive, and should prevent its development by engaging in exercise, eating better, and reducing stress levels.
Getting Ready for a Blood Pressure Test
Those who want an accurate result from their test should:
- Refrain from eating, smoking, or strenuous physical activity at least 30 minutes before.
- Steer away from taking any medication that could influence the results, especially if it’s for blood pressure itself.
- Rest for 5 minutes before taking the test to ensure that the body is not under any stress.
- Keep away from upsetting thoughts or emotions; strong emotional instability may also play a factor in the results.
- Do not move or talk once the test begins.
- Sit down and level your arm off in such a way that it’s resting on a table with the upper arm on the same level as the heart.
For those conducting tests at home, make sure to take it multiple times then average off the results as automatic monitors tend to be inaccurate. This is especially true for those who use the wrist variety. As for those who use monitors that latch onto the finger, an even wider margin of error should be afforded.