High blood pressure is widely deemed a silent killer that affects millions of people across the world every year, often without any noticeable symptoms. With the rise of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, monitoring your blood pressure at home is more important than ever. Regularly tracking your blood pressure levels can help you detect and manage any abnormalities early on, preventing further damage to your health.
In this article, we'll explore the compelling benefits of monitoring your blood pressure at home, providing you with the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your health and achieve optimal well-being. Let's begin our exploration and discover the path to achieving a healthier, happier life!
What do different blood pressure readings mean?
It is vital to comprehend blood pressure values to maintain optimal health. Familiarity with the various blood pressure stages and when medical attention is required can aid in preventing complications and supporting overall health and wellness. To that end, it is essential to remember the following key points:
Normal is not “universal”
Most people must have heard of the "normal" blood pressure range of 120/80 mm Hg or lower, but that's not always the case. It's essential to keep in mind that blood pressure norms can vary based on age, sex, weight, and underlying health conditions.
Categorizing blood pressure: More than just “high” or “low”
Blood pressure is typically categorized into five levels, ranging from low blood pressure to hypertensive crises. These levels are not merely "high" or low," but instead are indicative of different stages of blood pressure that require varying degrees of medical intervention.
Hypotension: When blood pressure drops too low
Hypotension, commonly referred to as low blood pressure, occurs when blood pressure falls below 90/60 mm Hg. There are instances where some individuals may not encounter any symptoms at all; however, others may experience dizziness, fainting, or shock. Immediate medical attention is necessary to prevent complications.
Elevated blood pressure: A warning sign
Elevated blood pressure occurs when the systolic BP is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and the diastolic BP is less than or equal to 80 mm Hg. While it's not considered high blood pressure, it's a warning sign that you're at risk of developing hypertension and need to make lifestyle changes to prevent it.
Stage 1 hypertension: The beginning of high blood pressure
Stage 1 hypertension is characterized by a systolic BP ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg and a diastolic BP ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg. At this point, lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and stress management are recommended, but medication may be necessary for those at higher risk.
Stage 2 hypertension: High blood pressure with consequences
Stage 2 hypertension is defined as a systolic BP equal to or higher than 140 mm Hg and a diastolic BP equal to or higher than 90 mm Hg. At this stage, medication is often necessary to manage the condition, and lifestyle changes are critical in preventing further complications such as stroke, heart attack, or kidney disease.
Hypertensive Crisis: A medical emergency
A hypertensive crisis occurs when the systolic BP exceeds 180 mm Hg and the diastolic BP exceeds 120 mm Hg. This condition is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as it can cause severe complications such as organ damage, stroke, or a heart attack. In the event of a hypertensive crisis, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention for yourself or someone you know.
What are the different kinds of blood pressure machines?
Monitoring blood pressure is an essential aspect of maintaining good health. It helps in detecting high or low blood pressure levels, which can lead to severe health issues if not managed effectively. There are primarily two types of BP monitoring devices, namely manual and digital. Let's delve into each of them:
Manual blood pressure machine
Manual sphygmomanometers are among the most frequently utilized instruments for measuring blood pressure in medical environments. They are usually precise, accurate, and require a stethoscope to interpret the readings. This equipment includes a cuff that encircles the patient's arm, a gauge or reading scale, and an inflation bulb. There are two types of manual sphygmomanometers that can be found on the market:
- Mercury Sphygmomanometer: This device is widely considered the benchmark for clinical blood pressure measurement. It features a reading scale that contains mercury and is utilized to measure both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- Aneroid Sphygmomanometer: This device's reading board does not contain mercury but instead uses a circular gauge to measure blood pressure. It is portable and can be used by medical professionals in remote areas without electricity.
Digital blood pressure machine
Digital sphygmomanometers, also known as electronic or automated blood pressure monitors, are used for self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring at home. They are user-friendly, compact devices that consist of a monitor along with a cuff. These devices can measure ambulatory blood pressure, making them suitable for use at home or outside. That said, these devices may not be suitable for individuals with heart rhythm conditions like atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, as these conditions can affect the accuracy of the readings.
What are the benefits and importance of owning a BP monitor at home?
Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is imperative for an individual's overall well-being. High blood pressure can cause serious health complications, including heart disease and stroke. Having a blood pressure monitor at home is an easy way to keep track of your blood pressure levels. Here are the major advantages of owning one:
- Daily Monitoring: By measuring your blood pressure daily, you can keep a record of your blood pressure levels and detect any sudden changes that could lead to health complications.
- Ambulatory Monitoring: Digital blood pressure machines can monitor your blood pressure 24 hours a day, which can help diagnose masked hypertension, a condition where blood pressure spikes during certain activities or times of the day. This can aid in decreasing the likelihood of organ damage.
- Portability: Digital blood pressure machines are compact and easy to carry, making them apt (or perfect) for travel purposes.
- Accessibility: For those who cannot visit a doctor on a regular basis, such as elderly individuals, bedridden patients, or pregnant women, having a blood pressure monitor at home can be extremely helpful.
- Accuracy: Medical settings can trigger anxiety and spike blood pressure levels, also known as "white coat hypertension." Digital blood pressure machines can provide accurate readings without the influence of external factors, such as the presence of medical personnel.
Owning a blood pressure monitor at home is overall a worthwhile investment in your health and well-being, as it allows you to regularly monitor your blood pressure levels, identify any sudden changes, and prevent serious health complications.
To purchase a high-quality blood pressure monitor, conducting research and comparisons is recommended. A search on the internet using keywords such as "best BP machine in India" can assist in finding reliable options. Also, it must be noted that the average BP check machine price in India typically ranges from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 3,000 (for a basic digital BP monitor), but this cost may differ depending on the brand, features, and type of blood pressure monitor.