By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 10 June 2021
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.3 billion people in the world suffer from high blood pressure, also called hypertension. Left untreated, hypertension can become a serious condition and result in severe health consequences such as angina, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), heart attack, heart failure, stroke and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor blood pressure frequently to prevent such events.
Blood pressure can be measured either in a medical setup (with the help of a device known as a sphygmomanometer) or at home using a digital blood pressure monitor.
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted by the blood on the vessel wall while travelling through the body. Blood pressure (BP) is measured in two forms:
Blood pressure is considered normal when the readings are 120/80 mm Hg or less, where 120 mm Hg is the systolic BP and 80 mm Hg is the diastolic BP. According to the American Heart Association, the different categories of blood pressure include:
Blood pressure can be measured with the help of two types of devices: manual and digital.
Also called a manual sphygmomanometer, this device is one of the most widely used blood pressure measuring devices in a medical setup. It consists of a cuff that is wrapped around the arm of the patient, a gauge (reading scale), and an inflation bulb. This device is mostly used by medical professionals as it requires a stethoscope to interpret the readings. Manual sphygmomanometers are available in two types:
Also called a digital sphygmomanometer, these devices can be used at home without any assistance. The process of using a blood pressure device at home, away from a hospital, is called self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring. These devices are safe and easy to use and comprise a cuff and a monitor to measure ambulatory blood pressure. Ambulatory monitoring involves measuring the blood pressure at set times (usually every 30 minutes) and requires wearing the cuff for 24 hours.
The accuracy of home blood pressure monitors must be validated once a year by taking it to a medical setup and comparing the values recorded on the devices. Blood pressure can be monitored accurately at home using digital monitors unless one suffers from heart rhythm conditions like atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, etc.
The benefits of having a blood pressure machine at home include:
One should consult a doctor if they experience:
Both high and low blood pressure can be extremely dangerous and can result in serious health consequences. Blood pressure monitors such as digital sphygmomanometers can be extremely helpful in measuring BP regularly at home without professional help. A person diagnosed with hypertension or hypotension can measure their BP using such devices and record them in a journal. These readings would help the doctor decide the dose and class of medications one may require.
If you have any questions related to heart health, you can talk to a cardiologist.
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If the blood pressure fluctuates regularly and far more than usual, it may be an indication of labile hypertension.
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