Introduction to BP
The human body is a synchronized system of various organs, their functional orchestration, and a feedback mechanism controlled by the brain. One of the vital organs-heart functions as a pump to push blood in different parts of the body to supply oxygen and food. Blood moves through a closed network of blood vessels-arteries and veins and exerts pressure on their walls. This pressure is termed as Blood Pressure or simply- BP. In simpler words, it is the measure of how hard your heart is working to meet the needs of the body.
What are the implications of high/low BP?
BP is considered as one of the vital signs of the good or poor health of the body and is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). In a healthy body, it is considered that the highest pressure exerted by heart, when it pumps, should be 120mmHg (Systolic BP). Similarly, the lowest pressure when the heart rests between two heartbeats should be 80mmHg (Diastolic BP). When BP is consistently above or below these standards, it is high BP and low BP and is referred to as Hypertension and Hypotension respectively. Both can occur due to specific reasons, for example, low BP can be due to the diseased state of the body. But, both can have serious implications like-
BP is affected by factors like heredity, nutrition, stress, inappropriate sleep, extreme temperatures, and exercise. The most critical of them is stiffness of arteries with biological ageing. One of the many degenerative things that occur in the body due to old age is the loss of elasticity of major arteries. The heart has to work harder to pump blood, hence, BP levels rise. Maintaining a healthy BP level is critical at all ages, especially in old age. Elderly can do the same by doing the following-
What is a blood pressure monitor?
The device which is calibrated to measure the BP is known as the Sphygmomanometer or the Blood Pressure Monitor, and it comprises of-
There are two basic methods- Auscultatory and Oscillometric, employed to measure the BP, and accordingly, classified into two types- Manual and Digital BP monitors. Manual ones can be further bifurcated as- Mercury and Aneroid based on the presence or absence of the Mercury column.
This method uses Korotkoff sounds to identify Systolic and Diastolic BP. The Cuff wrapped around the upper arm chokes the artery. A stethoscope is placed to the brachial artery at the elbow, to listen to a pounding sound when the air pressure is slowly released. It is caused by the highest pressure when blood starts flowing for the first time after it was occluded. Air pressure is released until the whooshing can no longer be heard. It is noted as Diastolic BP.
The process is the same, but the only difference is that there is no listening device, like Stethoscope, and the method is based on the measurement of the oscillations caused by the arterial pressure pulse. When the blood starts flowing in the vessels, they produce oscillations and continue until the blood flow is normalized. The oscillations are measured and calculated to arrive at the SBP and DBP.
Why seniors need a home BP monitor?
With age, the wear and tear of arteries happen, and they tend to become stiff, obstructing blood flow. Even with a healthy aged person, these conditions might come silently as no symptoms eventuate. The best way to keep a check on any such possibility is to keep a periodic log of BP at home. Seniors can keep a home BP monitor to measure BP, which will help them in many ways:
What are the different types of home monitors? Based on the principles they use, the classification is done as- Manual and Digital or Automatic.
Factors to consider when purchasing a BP monitor
The need for a BP monitor at home arises for the following:
Therefore, it is just not that simple to buy any BP monitor. You must take into consideration the following while doing so:
After purchase Once you have made the purchase and taken the first reading yourself, do get the same cross-checked by visiting your physician. Ask your physician to take the reading by using a manual sphygmomanometer. Share your readings so that the correctness of your monitor can be determined. In case of any variation, go through the user manual to re-calibrate your BP monitor.
Top-rated brands in the Indian market There are hundreds of available brands and models for BP monitors in India to choose from. Heres a list of some of the best BP monitors available in India. Have a look at them:-
1. Blood Pressure Monitor
A Wrist monitor with clear, easy to read display, irregular heartbeat indicator, and stores data for two users X 60 spaces each. It has Low battery warning and auto-shut feature.
Best known for- Automatic pressure pre-selection and deflation feature
2. Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor
This automatic monitor is compact, has IntelliSense technology, easy one-touch operation, and hypertension indicator. It detects body movements and irregular heartbeat and is accurate and easy to use.
Best known for- Does not need pressure pre-setting or re-inflation.
3. BP Monitor 3AQ1-2P - Karma Microlife
This monitor comes with a 12 months guarantee. It has pulse arrhythmia detection, rechargeable battery, and power adapter. It is accurate, compact, and easy to use.
Best known for- Has PAD Technology for irregular heartbeat detection and has comfortable inflation technology
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