Blood Pressure Monitoring is a routine test that measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps, your blood pressure provides you with clues about the amount of work your heart is doing to pump blood through your arteries. Blood pressure is measured in two different readings, the first is Systolic Pressure; which is the first or top number in a reading, and it measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is contracting to pump blood. The second is Diastolic Pressure; it measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats. These readings can tell you if your blood pressure is normal or high, for instance, if you see a blood pressure written as 120/80, the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80 which is normal.
How it is Done
Blood pressure monitoring can be done in two ways; manual blood pressure monitoring, automated blood pressure monitoring, and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
- Manual Blood Pressure Monitoring; this is done by your healthcare provider using a sphygmomanometer, aneroid monitor, and a stethoscope. This can be done in the following steps, ensure you are sitting in a relaxed position, with your arm straight. Place the cuff on your bicep and squeeze to inflate the balloon. Slowly deflate the balloon and listen through the stethoscope to hear the first “whoosh” of blood flowing, record the number, this is your systolic blood pressure. Keep listening, slowly deflating the balloon, until that rhythm stops, when it stops record the number, it is your diastolic blood pressure. Manual blood pressure monitoring can be done by individuals at home.
- Automated Blood Pressure Monitoring; this is the use of automatic blood pressure machines to monitor blood pressure, they are easy to use. Just place the cuff on your upper arm, and press a button to start the measurement, and the device automatically inflates the cuff and records the blood pressure, displaying it on a digital screen. It is user-friendly and can be used at home too.
- Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring; it involves wearing a portable blood pressure monitor for 24 hours, this records your blood pressure readings whether you are awake or asleep, it takes dozens of readings over a continuous period. The device also measures your heart rate. Your healthcare provider then uses this data to calculate your average BP over 24 hours. This method is used to identify how your daily activities and sleep patterns can affect your blood pressure. It can detect abnormal changes in BP that can go unnoticed through other means of blood pressure monitoring.
Benefits of Blood Pressure Monitoring
People aged 40 and older with hypertension or risk factors should have their blood pressure monitored often, while adults without any blood pressure issues should check their blood pressure at least once a year. Regular monitoring can detect hypertension easily, and it can catch it early when it is easier to manage. Monitoring blood pressure also encourages individuals to take proactive steps to prevent high blood pressure such as dieting, stress reduction, and engaging in physical activities. Consistent monitoring of blood pressure reveals patterns and trends in your blood pressure which can assist in the identification of potential health issues. Also, effective blood pressure management can reduce the risk of complications, including kidney disease, vision problems, and cognitive decline.
In conclusion, blood pressure monitoring is vital, in a case where a Blood Pressure issue is detected, there are treatment options that include lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, losing weight, cutting down on alcohol, regular exercise, and cutting down on sodium. Medications such as thiazide-like diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors can be recommended by your healthcare provider.