Did you know that more than 360,000 deaths in America is caused by high blood pressure? As CDC states at 2013, high blood pressure causes almost 1,000 deaths each day. Doctors have been measuring patients blood pressure since the beginning of the 20th century. Even when you go to a doctor nowadays, the thing that they always do is checking our blood pressure. And it’s the right thing to do because blood pressure is important. Blood pressure can tell a lot of thing about you or your loved ones.
What is Blood Pressure?
Based from Pulse Heart Institute (PHI), blood pressure is the pressure exerted on walls of the blood vessels by circulating blood. As your heart beats, the heart functions to pumps the blood to the body and support energy and oxygen for the muscle. When the blood travels through arteries, it pushes and the strength of the pushing is what we called a blood pressure.
How Important Is Blood Pressure?
The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems in the future. High blood pressure might have a part in some disease like heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and even a kidney disease. Did you know that about 7 out of 10 people having their first heart attack also have high blood pressure? And about 8 out of every 10 people having their first stroke also have high blood pressure.
This is why it is so important to take prevention by monitoring your blood pressure regularly, or even daily to those who is in need such as people that already diagnosed with hypertension or pregnant woman.
How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure?
As your heart beats, it circulates the blood around your body. When your heart squeezes and pushes, the blood pressure goes up. When your heart relaxes, your blood pressure goes down. So, it will rise to maximum level and then fall to minimum level. That’s why the result of blood pressure test is given as two numbers, the maximum called systolic blood pressure level and the minimum is diastolic blood pressure level.
The normal number is below 120 per 80.If the systolic number is higher than 130, and the diastolic number is higher than 80, you are already in hypertension stage 1, you may need to check your bp more frequently. Hypertension stage 2 starts at 140 per 90 (this is where your doctor might start on treatment program), while hypertension crisis is higher than 180 per 120, this is the part where you have to consult your doctor immediately (it is an emergency).
This doesn’t mean having a low blood pressure is good for health too. Very low blood pressure could be a sign of heart failure.
Types of Blood Pressure Monitor
There are several types of blood pressures monitor you can choose based on what you need. For example there are:
- Arm Monitors. Monitors that use an arm cuff. Comes with two models, aneroid monitors, a monitor where you have to read a gauge to find your blood pressure (the traditional monitor you can find at doctor), or digital monitor, where the reading appears on small screen.
- Wrist monitors. Monitors that is accurate only when your arm is positioned at heart level
How To Choose A Good Blood Pressure Monitor at Home?
If you decide to measure your blood pressure at home, you have to find a good blood pressure monitor that is accurate and right for you.
American Heart Association (AHA) recommends an automatic blood pressure monitor that is cuff style and can be put on bicep, because wrist and finger monitor is not as reliable as bicep monitor. Try to find a monitor that fits your upper arm.
The most widely used ones are Omron blood pressure monitors. They are a Japanese company specializing in healthcare monitoring products with decades of history. Their products are widely trusted by doctors and physicians around the world.
Here is a cuff size measurement details from Blood Pressure UK:
Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor cuff sizes
It is better to consult with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you are choosing blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or a child.
How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
Here are some tips if you choose to use it:
- Be still. It is better not to smoke or drink caffeine products like tea or coffee within 30 minutes.
- Sit correctly.
- Measure at the same time daily
- Take multiple readings and don’t forget to record the result, you can use a blood pressure journal or download a blood pressure monitoring apps.
- Before taking a measurement, remove the clothes.
If you choose a digital blood pressure monitor, don’t forget to re-calibrated it at least once every two years, so it can still give you accurate results. You can send it back to the manufacturer and pay for it to be re-calibrated.
Blood pressure can tell much about your current and future health. It is better to prevent it than to face it. If you have blood pressure monitor at home, you can start to know your own health at the moment, or even might even predict your future problems.
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