Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blood pressure monitors - what do you need to know

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of death. Because it has often no symptoms or only vague symptoms the only way to know your blood pressure level for sure is by measuring it. Blood preasure monitors offer a quick and easy way for measuring blood pressure. This is why it is vital that we all have our blood pressure measured regularly and the easiest way to do it nowadays is in our own home, using blood pressure monitor. Some studies even suggest that the blood pressure value you get by measuring it at home is more precise than the one you get in your doctor's office. The reason for this is excitment some people feel while in the doctor's office which causes the increase of their blood pressure.
Before using any kind of blood pressure monitor, it is recommended to talk to your doctor who will give you instructions on how to use it and how to check its accuracy. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea) 30 minutes before measuring. Take a rest for 5 minutes before measuring, do not talk or cross your ankles. Place your hand in the level of the heart on the table and rest. The appropriate cuff size is of crucial importance for accurate measurement of blood pressure. Cuff width must correspond to the 2/3 length from elbow to shoulder, and its length must be sufficient to embrace 80% of the upper arm. If you buy a pressure gauge with a deficient cuff, you get a false high-pressure values​​. Appropriate cuff size is especially important in obese patients.
If the measured value is unexpectedly high, take a little rest and repeat the measurement. Consider the lower measure you get as the official blood pressure value. There are two types of blood pressure monitors for home use, aneroid monitor and a digital monitor.

The gauge at the aneroid monitor is read by looking at a pointer on a dial. The cuff, placed around your upper arm, is inflated by squeezing a bulb with your hand. Digital monitors can have either automatic or manual cuffs. The blood pressure value is shown on a small screen.
Keeping an accurate record of your blood pressure values during the day is very important. This way your doctor gets informations about what types of food, activities  or medications effect your blood pressure the most. Many digital monitors have memory facilities so you can keep a record of your blood pressure values and even print these out or load them into your computer.

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