The heart is the main organ for supplying blood to all the organs of the body. It pumps blood into the blood vessels with a single beat, which creates pressure on their walls. This is called blood pressure. The pressure readings vary from person to person. These different readings are measured with the help of blood pressure machines.
The pressure readings are made up of mainly two values. They are:
Systolic – it occurs when the heart muscles contract during heart beating, and this pumping releases oxygen-rich blood vessels.
Diastolic – it occurs when the blood puts presuure on the walls when the heart muscles relax. Diastolic pressure is usually lower than systolic pressure.
Blood pressure is generally measured in the units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The readings are given in pairs with the systolic value first and then followed by the lower value.
High pressure can sometimes be the cause of serious diseases. In previous stages, it might get unnoticed, but over a more extended period, it increases the chance of heart diseases and causes heart attacks, strokes, and heart and kidney failures. For this reason, you should always keep track of your blood pressure regularly to avoid long-term illness.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure should be measured more than once since it changes regularly. It also fluctuates due to factors like stress, pain, or extreme weather. So if a reading comes up high once, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is always too high. Ideally, you should measure your pressure normally while lying down or sitting on a chair with the help of a good blood pressure monitor.
Measuring with a sphygmomanometer
A sphygmomanometer has mainly three parts. They are:
- A cuff inflated with air
- A pressure meter for measuring the cuff’s pressure
- A stethoscope for listening to the blood flowing through your vessels
The meter has a rubber pump for inflating the cuff, and a button is present for letting the air out of the cuff. The cuff is present in the upper portion of your arm to get a somewhat reliable reading. It is then inflated until the blood flow in the vessels stop, and then the air is slowly let out.
In the past, this type of pressure reading was more famous. But now, most of the path labs use pressure monitors that provide the readings digitally, and they are much more reliable.
Digital blood pressure monitors
Digital machines are generally used on the wrist, but can also be used on the upper arm or fingertips. These machines read the pressure automatically depending on the blood vessels’ different blood volumes.