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                                      Blood Pressure Monitor

Introduction 

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                                                                                                         
  • Nosebleed                                                                  
  • 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
  • Stroke                                                                                                                                     
  • 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

Manual/Aneroid.  

                                                                                                                     

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. 

 

Automatic/Digital

 

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. 

 

 

 

Conclusion

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!


Finger Pulse Oximeter

Introduction

With the rising  COVID – 19 cases and deaths in the world one of the things a person might ask is ” Am I breathing the right amount of oxygen” ? Sad to say we do not know only when you start having difficulty of breathing then you become alarmed and head straight to the ER or call 911. It is sad to say that people on assisted ventilation in the ICU with COVID-19 either make it or they don’t. But folks there is good news with the use of an oxygen saturation pulse oximeter we can be sure if we are breathing the proper concentration of oxygen to bring oxygen to our red blood cells.

In this article I would like give you a short education on the uses of this little cute device and yes you got it right they are affordable ! I have an image of the pulse oximeter device below that I use for the last 3 years and it is still kicking. Have an open mind and heart. Read on as we go on this journey. I promise you will not get bored !

What is a pulse oximeter and its medical uses?

A pulse oximeter is a small electronic device to measure the percentage of oxygen in arterial blood carried in your red blood cells and the pulse (heart rate) normally 60 -100 per minute. The pulse oximeter can be attached to your fingers, forehead, nose, earlobe and toes. One of the good things about this cute device is you can carry it with you specially the fingertip pulse oximeters. A pulse oximeter will indicate if you will need supplemental oxygen. They are commonly use in operating rooms, ICU and in outpatient clinics. But anyone can use this if they are mountain climbers, athletes or aviators. I would recommend one that I use in my profession as an RN for the last 3 years and it has proven the test of time later in this blog. Right now what are the indications for the use of a pulse oximeter?

    • COVID-19  (Difficulty of breathing, cough and fever)
    • Lung problems –  Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis (COPD), Pneumonia, Asthma, Sleep Apnea, Lung Cancer
    • Heart problems –  Heart Attack, Congestive Heart Failure, Congenital Heart Defects
    • Anemia

Physiology of Oxygen Saturation

Our circulatory system carries blood through all of our major organ systems – brain, heart, lung, kidneys. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood that binds and transports oxygen to carry it through the bloodstream to the organs, tissues, and cells of your body. Without oxygen our organs will not function to do its work just like the heart muscle needs oxygen otherwise it will die resulting in a heart attack or myocardial infarction. In COVID-19 the surface tension in our lungs increases resulting in difficulty in breathing, low oxygen saturation below 90% and the need for assisted ventilation called a ventilator seen in the ICU.

How does an Oxygen  Saturation Pulse Oximeter work?

If you have gone this far this is how this little cute device works. I am talking here of the fingertip pulse oximeter where the nurse or doctor clips on this device into your fingers preferably the middle finger which gives the best reading. Inside the clip is a light source and a light detector with a computer to determine your body’s oxygen saturation. The light source emits a red light and infrared light and the light detector senses how much of each light is absorbed and how much is allowed to pass through the finger (or toe or ear lobe). As it turns out, oxygenated hemoglobin absorbs more infrared light and allows more red light to pass through.

On the other hand, deoxygenated blood allows more red light and allows more infrared light to pass through. The ratio of red light to infrared light that is absorbed by the body on its way from the light source to the light sensor is your oxygen saturation.

The pulse is measured by the constant stream of light. It measures the changing absorbance in your finger. It is the light absorbance that happens with every heartbeat. That is why a pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation and pulse rate.

Pulse Oximetry Readings – Normal and Abnormal

The normal oxygen saturation is typically measured as an O2 saturation at room air. In the medical world you will hear such words as Pulse Ox, O2 Sat or SpO2. No matter what wording is used it refers to the percentage of oxygen saturation. Normal range is from 95%-100%. If you get a reading of 100% that means a hemoglobin molecule can bind up to 4 oxygen molecules for transport in the blood.

Abnormal readings below 90% requires attention or the need for supplemental oxygen as the organs are not being perfused well. Medical professionals should be consulted if a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID19 has SpO2 ≤90%. Now the next question you may ask is “Is it accurate” Yes it is as most pulse oximeters give a reading of 2% above or 2% below as comparable with a standup monitor. I have seen this in my practice assessing patients.

Barriers to a Low or Inaccurate Oxygen Saturation Readings

If you ever work in the emergency room which I used to work in my initial nursing career there is so much in and out of patients with all the chaos and ambulances bringing in trauma patients from the outside. There are times we forget the basics and I would like to give you the barriers to a correct oxygen saturation reading. Here is the list:

  • Artificial nails
  • Nail polish
  • Cold hands
  • Poor circulation
  • Increase blood fats
  • Lighting in the environment
  • Shivering
  • Incorrect sensor application

 

Benefits of Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximeters can help people with breathing problems and medical professionals monitor oxygen saturation by:

  • Monitoring oxygen saturation over time
  • Offering the peace of mind for people with chronic pulmonary problems specially people with exposure to COVID-19 whether to go the ER or not and people with cardiovascular conditions
  • The need for supplemental oxygen
  • Monitoring patients in surgery under anesthesia and post operatively in the recovery room
  • People taking drugs that affect breathing
  • Determine the effectiveness of interventions such as supplemental oxygen and ventilators
  • Helping with anxiety

Conclusion

Since COVID-19 started there has been a rush to get oxygen saturation pulse oximeters. And they are as I said earlier inexpensive and portable. Having one to carry maybe a lifesaver as it measures blood oxygen saturation levels whether you need to go the ER or not if you suspect you may have COVID-19 symptoms of difficulty of breathing. Other than this is used to monitor heart and lung problems. Oxygen is vital for life as every cell and tissue needs to carry out its individual function. Pulse oximeters should be used the proper way otherwise it will give false inaccurate readings.

If you want to take action now and get this inexpensive device for your everyday use or medical reasons you have, please click here 0r the link below. As I have said earlier I have used this device for the past 3 years, I love it and best of all it comes with a belt pouch, lanyard, user manual and batteries included. It has six display modes.What I am talking about is the Santamedical Generation 2 Fingertip Pulse Oximeter. It is very accurate. It is the first image below. Take action now and who knows you might save a life!

Disclosure: “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”


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