Blood Pressure Monitor
So you have you have high blood pressure? Do I need to go to the emergency room? Well this blog is on saving lives. And seriously as a former emergency room nurse I have seen it all. Let me give you the facts plain and simple on what you need to know with the hope that this will help you. I will talk about the definition, normal and high blood pressure readings, causes and symptoms, prolong effects on the body, what you need to do to to lower your risk and types of blood pressure monitors. Curious then let us proceed.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Quite simply high blood pressure or Hypertension in medical terms is the force of blood against the arterial walls of your circulatory system when there is too much pressure or excessive force. Your heart has chambers that force blood out of it into the body to supply the different major organs (brain, heart, lung and kidneys) with rich oxygenated blood to it so it can do its major functions. When there is too much pressure, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood. Think of it like a garden hose where the water puts pressure on the walls of the hose.
High blood pressure over time increases the risk of heart disease. Our heart is a major pump and has muscles with four major chambers – left and right atrium and left and right ventricles. And yes the heart has arteries so it needs rich oxygenated blood. Think of the heart as the compared to the motor of an automobile. Without the motor the vehicle will not run so does when the heart fails we have cardiac death.
What is Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure Readings?
Blood pressure readings have 2 numbers – Systolic and Diastolic. It is measured as a fraction for example 120/80 which is normal. The top number is the Systolic the pressure when the heart pumps blood out of the heart or the pressure of the heart when it contracts during a heart beat pumping oxygenated (with oxygen) blood out to the rest of the body to the major organs. While the Diastolic is the pressure when the the chambers in the heart fill with blood or the pressure of the heart when it relaxes between beats.
A high systolic (130 and over) or diastolic (80 and over) can be considered as high blood pressure. The prescriber will ask you to monitor your pressure using a blood pressure machine at home. I will illustrate later in this blog below the different types of blood pressure monitors.
What are the Causes and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Well to make it simple there is a medical term we call as Primary or Essential Hypertension where there is no known cause whereas Secondary Hypertension where there is a known condition or disease.
Primary Hypertension can be attributed to nonspecific lifestyle and genetic factors. The majority of the population fall into this category. The nonspecific lifestyle factors are smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption and high dietary salt intake. Genetic factors are known family inheritance like your uncle, parents, cousins have hypertension thanks to our genes. Secondary Hypertension can be attributed to kidney disease, adrenal disease, thyroid problems and obstructive sleep apnea.
Symptoms are the following :
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion.
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
What are the effects on prolong high blood pressure?
It is a known fact that high blood pressure is a silent killer typically with no symptoms or warnings until it is too late. You can’t feel it damaging your heart, arteries and major organs. I am here to save lives so please take this blog seriously with an open mind and heart.
The effects of prolong high blood pressure are the following:
- Heart Attack
- Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries)
- Vision loss
- Angina (Chest pain)
- Kidney damage
- Peripheral Arterial Disease
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Hypertensive Crisis (BP above 180/120)
What do you need to do to lower your risk?
The number one cause of death in the US today is a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and second is cancer. But heart disease is preventable only if we take the following steps to reduce the risk. Here they are:
- Eat a balanced meal (lots of fruits and vegetables, grains and less on high fat/high cholesterol food)
- Exercise daily (At least 30 mins daily but check with your doctor first)
- Avoid smoking cigarettes
- Decrease alcohol intake
- Lose weight
- Decrease salt intake (salt retains water and increases volume)
- Reduce stress and anxiety (do deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, tai chi and counseling)
- Take your blood pressure medications
- Have a physical exam checkup by your doctor
- Monitor blood pressure daily
Types of Blood Pressure Monitors
This the typical monitor that you see when you visit your doctor when he squeezes a rubber bulb to inflate the cuff on your upper arm. The doctor listens for the heartbeat using a stethoscope and the blood pressure is read on a gauge listening for the first heartbeat and the last heartbeat as explained above as a fraction for example 120/80. They are accurate but it takes practice with good listening skills. It is also important to use the right size of cuff as too small can give false high readings and too big can give false low readings.
If you want convenience, portability and without the use of a stethoscope sticking in your ears then I highly recommend getting this type of monitors. There is the upper arm monitor left image, wrist monitor and the finger monitor images below.
As I have previously mentioned to you in the beginning that I am here to save lives. Hypertension is a silent killer without symptoms or warning. Most high blood pressure readings are discovered during a visit to a doctor’s office. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to fatal strokes where a blood vessel bleeds in the brain causing paralysis on one side of the body. A proper diet, daily exercise, losing weight, avoid smoking, take medications and monitoring your blood pressure can be a life saver before this silent killer strikes.
So if you want to be proactive and avoid going to the emergency room and saving your life get any of the recommended blood pressure monitors below. I personally use the Omron Bronze Blood Pressure Monitor
I like it because it stores up to 14 blood pressure readings, has irregular heart beat detector and I can put this in my suitcase when I travel. I use this monitor before I go to work just to make sure my blood pressure is within the normal range. So act now by clicking on the images below. But please take care of yourself, be proactive and stay healthy!
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