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Anyone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have a BP checking machine at home. It is also known as a sphygmomanometer. A BP monitoring machine can be used to track BP levels but should not be considered a substitute for a visit to the doctor. If you have been prescribed medication to regulate your blood pressure, it should not be changed or stopped without consulting the doctor.
While there are many BP machine brands, there are 2 main types of BP machines:
A manual BP machine has an inflatable arm cuff, a manually operated bulb and valve and an aneroid gauge. These monitors are mostly used by trained practitioners.
A digital Machine consists of an inflatable arm cuff and a machine with a display monitor. These machines measure systolic and diastolic pressure as well as pulse rate. They are easy to operate and require no technical training but the results may not be as accurate as manual BP monitor machines.
A BP machine is especially useful for people diagnosed with hypertension, people with a high risk of BP-related issues, people prescribed medication to regulate blood pressure and pregnant women with preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.
A BP measuring machine may not be advised for people with arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation since the underlying conditions could affect the measurement accuracy.
Anyone can use a BP check machine. Start by pulling the inflatable cuff in place on your forearm or wrist as per the machine’s specifications. Turn the machine on and wait while it automatically inflates the cuff. As the cuff inflates and deflates, the machine will note your BP levels. The results will then be displayed on the monitor.
For accurate results, sit still while you are measuring your blood pressure. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your arm supported on a table with the upper arm at your heart level. Do not take a reading within 30 minutes of exercising, smoking or drinking caffeinated beverages. If you are charting your results, it is best to measure your BP at the same time every day.
A digital blood pressure machine with display your current blood pressure in the form of 2 numbers separated by a forward slash. For example, normal blood pressure should be around 120/80. The first number is the systolic reading and the second is the diastolic reading. People suffering from high blood pressure are typically advised to take 3-4 readings throughout the day and chart their results. This helps doctors understand how your blood pressure is fluctuating and tailor medication accordingly.
Here’s a quick guide to understanding your blood pressure reading:
A single reading that is slightly higher than normal is usually not a cause for concern. Relax for a few minutes and measure your blood pressure again. If it is still high, speak to your doctor. That said, if you have a sudden spike in blood pressure readings accompanied by shortness of breath, chest and back pain, difficulty speaking and vision changes, contact your doctor immediately.
If you have been told to monitor your BP, check machine prices online. That said, do not choose a monitor based only on the BP machine price. For the sake of convenience, a digital BP machine is preferable. You must make sure that the machine has been validated and that the cuff fits your arm.