Today is World Hypertension Day and we would like to guide on how you can prevent as well as manage hypertension with your own blood pressure monitor.
In this post, we have highlighted 9 vital points on how you can manage hypertension with your blood pressure monitor.
#1 BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS
What are blood pressure monitors?
If you have high blood pressure, a blood pressure monitor can help you monitor your efforts to reduce it and can provide your doctor with additional, valuable information. If your blood pressure is normal, the monitors can help you reassure it remains healthy to prevent occurrences of stroke, hypertension and low pressure.
Basically, blood pressure monitors measure the pressure on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them.
#2 WHY YOU SHOULD USE A BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR?
- Helps to diagnose and monitor hypertension
- Can help detect your cardiovascular risk
- Give a more complete picture of your health
#3 WHEN TO CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE?
If you’re using a blood pressure monitor on your doctor’s advice, he or she should tell you when to take readings. As a rule, though, you should take them at the same time of day on each occasion, so you’re comparing like with like.
Take a few readings each time, a couple of minutes apart, and calculate the average to make the figures more representative. And if your blood pressure monitor doesn’t store your readings for you, jot them down in a notebook to get an idea of long-term trends.
#4 HOW TO TAKE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE READINGS?
Taking readings requires some thought and preparation, though it will soon become second nature. There are several things to remember:
- Relax. Steer clear of caffeine and exercise for thirty minutes beforehand, and rest for a few minutes. Sit comfortably upright with your feet flat on the floor and with your back supported.
- Position your arm correctly. Rest it on a flat surface, with your upper arm level with your heart.
- Position the cuff correctly, with the bottom edge just above your elbow.
The instruction manual of your device will also provide you with clear instructions.
#5 HOW DOES A BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR WORK?
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure monitor. It consists of an inflatable cuff that’s wrapped around your arm, roughly level with your heart, and a monitoring device that measures the cuff’s pressure.
The monitor measures two pressures: systolic, and diastolic. Systolic pressure is higher, occurring when your heart beats and pushes blood through the arteries, and diastolic pressure is measured when your heart is resting and filling with blood. So, for example, your blood pressure might be 120 over 80.
Blood pressure monitors may be manual or digital, but home monitors are usually digital and the whole measurement process is automatic apart from placing the cuff around your arm.
The cuff then inflates until it fits tightly around your arm, cutting off your blood flow, and then the valve opens to deflate it. As the cuff reaches your systolic pressure, blood begins to flow around your artery. This creates a vibration that’s detected by the meter, which records your systolic pressure. In a traditional analogue sphygmomanometer, the blood sounds are detected by the doctor using a stethoscope.
As the cuff continues to deflate, it reaches your diastolic pressure, and the vibration stops. The meter senses this and records the pressure again.
#6 DO-IT-YOURSELF TESTING
There are two circumstances in which you might test your blood pressure at home: because your doctor has asked you to, or because you want to keep an eye on it yourself. If you’re taking medication or making lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure, it can help you set goals and keep track of your progress – in fact patients who monitor their own blood pressure are more likely to be successful in their aims.
And if you’re one of those people whose blood pressure goes up whenever you walk in to a doctor’s surgery or hospital waiting room (a condition known as white-coat hypertension), measuring it at home can give a more realistic picture of what it’s like in more relaxed day-to-day conditions.
#7 HOW TO MEASURE BLOOD PRESSURE?
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury, mmHg. It consists of two numbers, such as 130/80, which we say as “130 over 80”. The first is your systolic blood pressure, the maximum pressure your blood attains as your heart beats and pushes it around your body. The second is your diastolic pressure, the minimum level it reaches between beats.
#8 WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels and makes you more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes.
Normal blood pressure is regarded as being between 120-129 (systolic) and 80-84 (diastolic).
The definition of high blood pressure, according to 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines, is anything above 140/90 mmHg. If you measure it in the comfort of your own home, where you’re likely to be more relaxed, the limit is slightly lower at 135/85.
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may be at risk of developing hypertension at some stage in the future unless you take action to bring it under control. This is called pre-hypertension.
A blood pressure reading of over 180/120 is dangerously high. Doctors call this a hypertensive crisis, and it requires immediate treatment.
Systolic blood pressure, the top number, is more important than diastolic blood pressure in people over 40. That’s because it’s a better predictor of stroke and heart attack. And only one of the two numbers has to be higher than it should be to count as high blood pressure.
All this can be summarised in a blood pressure chart, like this:
To check your blood pressure against the chart, start from your systolic pressure on the left-hand side, and move your finger to the right until you reach your diastolic pressure. The colour will tell you whether you have normal or abnormal blood pressure.
#9 TRACKING BLOOD PRESSURE OVER TIME
Bear in mind that a single reading doesn’t tell you very much – you will need to take an average of multiple readings, for example morning and evening for a week to know your actual blood pressure numbers.
You can order for your Omron M6 blood pressure monitor here