How to measure blood pressure


Measuring blood pressure is a painless and simple procedure that most of us have taken at some point of our lives. Moreover, the information derived from such simple procedure provides us with useful information regarding the condition of our heart as well as the condition of our blood vessels. You might be wondering by now how your blood pressure was measured. In measuring your blood pressure your doctor have told you that your blood pressure let us just say for example is 120/80.

The 120 represents the systolic or the maximum pressure in an artery at the moment when your heart is beating and pumping blood through the body while the 80 represents the diastolic which is the lowest pressure in an artery in moments between beats when the heart is resting. Both the systolic as well as the diastolic plays a vital role in measuring your blood pressure since a raise in either of the two will signify that you have high blood pressure or hypertension. Measuring the blood pressure also requires certain steps to follow.

First, it is important for the person who will have his/her blood pressure taken be relaxed as well as comfortably seated, with his/her arm well supported. However, in some especial cases patients are allowed to lay on an examination couch during the measurement of his/her blood pressure. The steps in measuring blood pressure are as follows:

1. A cuff that inflates is wrapped around the upper arm and then it is kept in place by a Velcro and there is a tube that leads out of the inflatable cuff to a rubber bulb. This rubber bulb is the one used to inflate the cuffs.

2. There is another tube that leads from the cuff to a reservoir of mercury located at the bottom of a vertical glass column. The pressure placed in the cuff is shown in the mercury column. The mercury is used to show the measurement of the blood pressure that is why it is kept within a sealed system.

3. Air is then pumped into the cuff thus increasing pressure and then you will feel the cuffs tightening around your upper arm.

4. The doctor will then put his stethoscope on your arm and then listens to your pulse while slowly releasing the air from the cuff.

5. The systolic pressure is measured by your doctor when he hears the first pulse; this sound of your pulse will slowly fade and then disappears.

6. On the other hand, the diastolic is measured starting from the moment your doctor is unable to hear the sound of your pulse.

7. All these are measured in terms of millimeters of mercury or mmHg.

In addition, there are still some other ways of measuring the blood pressure and this is by means of an automatic blood pressure gauge which can be conveniently used at home. These electronic blood pressure measuring devices are slowly replacing the usual mercury blood pressure measuring tool since mercury was found to have hazardous effect in nature. Aside from that, these electronic blood pressure measuring devices are also effective as well as efficient in giving accurate blood pressure measurements and above all, it eliminates the errors in blood pressure measurement committed by humans.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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