Often called as the silent killer, high blood pressure or hypertension is one of the world’s top causes of death. Symptoms may not be quite evident, but high blood pressure gradually damages the heart and other vital organs. Hence, whether you are experiencing chest pain or feeling fine, you ought to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Blood pressure is the force exerted by the heart to pump blood all over the body. Measuring this would also indicate the possible condition of your health and risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. Fortunately, determining your blood pressure is an easy and fast task. You just need the appropriate apparatus and the right technical know-how.
What to prepare
- A well-functioning stethoscope
- The right-sized cuff
- A digital or mechanical sphygmomanometer
- Paper and pen for note-taking
Aside from the apparatus, you should also have the patient prepared. This means that he should abstain himself from doing any strenuous activity or taking in caffeinated drinks. Anxious patients should be given enough time to calm down and relax for a bit.
Making accurate measurements
If you are using a digital sphygmomanometer, you can make measurements alone. However, if you’re using the mechanical one, you would need the help of a companion. Once you found some assistance, here is how to measure blood pressure:
- Have the patient ready. He should be seated in a manner that the flexed arm is in level with the heart.
- Choose the blood pressure cuff that perfectly fits his arm. Have the cuff wrapped around the upper arm just an inch above the antecubital fossa or the crease of the arm.
- Place the stethoscope right above the antecubital fossa, and find the strongest pulse on that area.
- Start pumping until the cuff inflates to 180 mmHg.
- Release the air and deflate the cuff slowly at the rate of 2 to 3 mmHg per second.
- Listen through the stethoscope while looking at the sphygmomanometer at the same time. The first tapping sounds (Korotkoff sounds) you will hear is the systolic pressure. When the Korotkoff sounds stop, the last beat is the diastolic reading.
- Take note of every assessment. You can repeat the same process on the other arm. If your readings are alarmingly high, take several measurements to double-check its accuracy.
Measurements reaching up to 180/120 mmHg and above are deemed to be extremely harmful. Hence, patients with a blood pressure this high should consult a doctor and take the prescribed medication.
On the other hand, you can avoid suffering this kind of problem if you comply with daily check-ups. You can also have your blood pressure regularly checked at home as conveyed above. Keeping a normal blood pressure level does not only keep your heart healthy but also keeps your overall physiological condition in tip-top shape.