Portable blood pressure monitors are ideal for the person who needs to take several readings throughout the day in order to determine if medication is needed. Some portable machines fit snugly on the wrist and have a one touch measurement system. Electronic blood pressure monitors are operated by using batteries and come in versions that fit on the wrist and on the arm. Automatic inflation types are a little easier to use compared to the manual inflation machines. The most important thing to remember with electronic versions is that the batteries need to be replaced often so that an accurate reading can be obtained. Typically someone can have high blood pressure (hbp) and not even realize it. For this reason it is important to periodically check readings to make sure they are in the normal range. Several high readings should encourage an individual to see a doctor and find out if treatment is needed.
Most bp machines have memory storage just in case a person needs to refer back to previous readings. Electronic blood pressure monitors inflate and deflate automatically. A normal bp reading is around 110/75 to 130/80; anything above that should be brought to a physician’s attention, especially if the readings are consistently above normal. Being diagnosed with hbp can make a person feel uneasy and disquieted. Consider turning to the scriptures for comfort. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)
High blood pressure means there is high pressure inside the arteries and vessels. Elevated pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, hardening of the arteries, eye damage, stroke, and kidney disease. The top number measures systolic bp when the heart contracts and the bottom number measures diastolic bp when the heart relaxes. Portable blood pressure monitors show both systolic and diastolic numbers as well as pulse rate.
Strenuous exercise, stress, caffeine, smoking, eating, and some medications such as decongestants can increase a person’s bp. To take an accurate reading it may be necessary to take these things into consideration. Electronic blood pressure monitors can make it easy to take readings at optimal times. Consistent high readings can mean there is an underlying problem causing hbp. A physician may want to check for other health conditions such as kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, adrenal gland disease, and diabetes.
Most people do not have symptoms associated with hypertension but those who do may experience headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and blurred vision. Undiagnosed hypertension can eventually lead to enlargement of the heart and brain damage. Hypertension causes the arteries to become stiff and narrow causing the heart to have to work harder. Symptoms that worsen and do not subside should be brought to a doctor’s attention. Consider checking out portable blood pressure monitors and purchase one so that readings can be obtained before seeing the doctor. Share these readings with the physician at the time of an appointment to help with a proper diagnosis. To diagnose hypertension a physician will usually consider personal and family medical history and other risk factors such as tobacco use or obesity. Laboratory tests are usually taken for blood and urinalysis to check potassium levels, blood sugar, kidney function, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels.
An individual who is suffering with hbp needs to limit his or her salt intake, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco use. Along with taking medication a person with hbp should exercise regularly and eat healthy. Poorly controlled hypertension can cause damage to vessels throughout the body including in the eye. Guidelines for eating healthy include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and beans. Exercise should consist of 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week. Beware of hidden sodium levels in foods, especially instant soups, canned meats, lunchmeats, canned veggies, frozen entrees, and crackers as well as other processed foods.
Medications often prescribed to a person with hbp are ace inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers, among others. When a person is first diagnosed with hypertension several medications may need to be tried to find the right one. Ace inhibitors interfere with a chemical in the body that causes the arteries to constrict; this causes the heart rate to slow down and the vessels and arteries to relax. Beta-blockers work to reduce the heart rate and slow the heart’s output. Calcium channel blockers relax the arteries thus increasing the blood flow to the heart. Consider shopping for electronic blood pressure monitors so that one can be purchased to use at home while trying to find the right medication.
An old-fashioned method of monitoring bp is to use a standard instrument called a sphygmomanometer. Many doctor’s offices continue to use a sphygmomanometer because it seems to be more accurate. A cuff is placed around the patient’s arm and manually inflated to stop the blood flow in the artery temporarily. When the cuff slowly deflates a stethoscope is used to listen to the tone and volume of the blood flow through the artery. While this way of taking bp may be considered the most accurate portable blood pressure monitors are easier to operate. For someone who is not trained to use the old-fashioned method the newer models can be a good alternative.