Blood pressure gives us clues about the amount of work the heart has to do to pump blood through the arteries. And therefore it is, together with the heart rate, body temperature and respiratory rate, a measure that indicates our good or bad cardiovascular health. That is why it is important measure your blood pressure Once in a while.
A two-digit index
First of all, you have to understand what are the two figures that usually appear in blood pressure indicators like the ones we can use at home to take it. Both refer to two pressure measurements, one high and one low.
- The systolic blood pressure (the first and highest number) indicates how much pressure the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries when the heart beats; measures the pressure in the heartbeat.
- The diastolic blood pressure (the second and lower number) indicates how much pressure the blood makes against the artery walls while the heart rests between beats, when it is not pushing the blood.
These two figures must be between certain ranges to be considered healthy, and if they exceed them we will talk about hypertensive people. At the other extreme, if they do not reach the normal ranges, we will talk about hypotensive people.
While hypotension is not usually a problem, hypertension is the leading cause of death from cardiovascular problems in the world, so it is worth paying close attention if our measurements show values that are above normal.
The values blood pressure are, according to the Spanish Heart Foundation:
- Normal blood pressure. The maximum levels of systolic blood pressure are below 120 mmHg (millimeters of mercury), and those of diastolic in 80. Lower numbers can also be considered normal as long as they do not cause any symptoms.
- Normal-high blood pressure. The systolic is between 120-139 mmHg and the diastolic between 80-89 mmHg.
- Grade 1 hypertension. The systolic is above 140 mmHg and the diastolic is above 90 mmHg.
- Grade 2 hypertension. Systolic blood pressure is above 160 mmHg and diastolic is above 100 mmHg.
- Grade 3 hypertension. The systolic is equal to or greater than 180 and the diastolic is 110.
How can we take our blood pressure at home?
Once this is explained, it is time to take our blood pressure at home, and for this it is enough to have a blood pressure monitor. It is a device that consists of an inflatable bracelet that is placed around the arm and the measuring device itself.
When activating the blood pressure monitor, the cuff inflates around our arm – not our forearm, eye – and an indicator with numbers and a hand, or a digital display, shows the reading once the cuff deflates after being inflated.
But we will only get a reliable reading if we take into account various considerations, as the American Heart Association recalls:
- Must sit down in a comfortable chair, with your back supported and without crossing your legs, with your feet resting on the floor. The arm where it is taken must be extended and supported at the level of the heart, without moving it for the duration of the process and without being covered by clothing, relaxed, with the palm of the hand facing upwards.
- We have to be calm, without having drunk alcohol or coffee, or having done physical exercise previously and after emptying the bladder. We must be at least five minutes at rest before making the measurement.
- The pneumatic band of the tensiometer it has to cover almost the entire diameter of the arm – preferably the left one – and it must have a length that covers two-thirds of the arm. If it is too large, it will give lower figures than the real ones and, if it is too small, higher figures.
- Environmental conditions: the environment must be pleasant, without excessive noise and a temperature of around 20ºC.
How do I get a blood pressure monitor?
Blood pressure monitors are easy to get; can be bought in pharmacies or In Internet. There are currently two types of devices to measure blood pressure, some are arm blood pressure monitors, the recommended ones, whose bracelet is placed on the arm.
Others are modern wrist blood pressure monitors, which allow measurements to be made by placing the bracelet on the wrist. They can be a good indicator of pressure levels and today they are almost as accurate as arm pressure levels.
As a recommended model of arm blood pressure monitor we highlight the Medisana BU 510, whose price is 35 euros. It includes on its screen blood pressure monitor for the arm, arrhythmia screen, WHO traffic light color scale, for an accurate measurement of blood pressure and pulse with memory function.
As an arrhythmia indicator, the BU 510 can indicate possible cardiac arrhythmias, and although only our doctor should evaluate the type and severity of an arrhythmia, the indication can be used to consult with him. Regarding the memory function, this blood pressure monitor has an internal memory that allows to store 90 measurement results for 2 users.
Regarding wrist blood pressure monitors, the recommendation is the COOLEAD, whose price is 20 euros. With the 2.8-inch LCD screen, it clearly shows all measurements and the date and time. It includes pulse measurements although the manufacturer emphasizes that it is not exportable to the measurement of alterations such as arrhythmias.
In addition, this blood pressure monitor has a dual user mode that stores 198 blood pressure data, that is, 99 measurements from two different users. This data stored in your memory can be exported to create medical records. As an added advantage, this type of blood pressure monitor does not require us to remove our shirt to take measurements.
And finally we can complement our pressure measurement with the measurement of oxygen saturation levels in the blood using an oximeter. It is a small device in the form of a clamp with a sensor, which is placed on the index finger of the hand – preferably the left – and measures the oxygen levels in our blood, as well as the pulse.
Oximeter Braun YK-81CEU It is the recommended model, first of all because it has medical certification for its measurements, through reliable results clinically validated to comply with European standards (CE marking).
It is suitable for adults over 18 years of age with health problems such as obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia or so-called sleep apnea. Its price is 30 euros.
* ConsumptionClaro’s team of journalists and experts rigorously and independently recommend products and services to our readers. Every time you buy through some links added to this text, eldiario.es receives a commission.
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