For people with blood pressure issues, monitoring the blood pressure regularly is the best way to guage the effectiveness of current treatment. With latest devices it is easy to measure BP at home without any hassles.
The machines today are totally automatic and all one has to do is wear the cuff and press the Start button. But, have you ever wondered how they work?
How to blood pressure monitors work
Blood pressure shows two numbers – systolic and diastolic. The monitors measure this number. Blood pressure is the measurement of how good your heart is pumping blood. During the first phase of measurement, the cuff inflates. This puts pressure on the arteries carrying blood. The pressure increases at steps of around 4mmHg. At some point, the blood flow in the artery stops. The monitor is constantly listening to the sound in your arteries caused by blood flow. When the blood flow stops, the cuff starts deflating. When the pressure reduces, the blood will start flowing and the monitor will hear the gush of blood flow. The pressure measured at this stage is called the diastolic pressure.
The cuff continues to deflate until the blood flow reaches a state where it does not make any sound while flowing through the arteries. At this stage, heart is relaxed and pumping at regular cycles. This measurement is systolic.
When to measure blood pressure
Blood pressure always has to be measured when you are calm and in a “normal” state. Excitement, tension, high state of activeness all cause slight variations in blood pressure. Food and smoking also causes changes and you should not measure immediately to get accurate results. Ofcourse, all of these can be overridden based on doctor’s instructions who is interested in seeing BP after some activity to measure changes caused by certain activities.