BP Basics

Blood Pressure Measurement

You must have taken your blood pressure measurement at some point of time. This may have happened out of common curiosity or a part of your doctor’s diagnosis.

It is a simple and painless procedure that costs nothing and at the same time provides you with some valuable information. Blood pressure measurement refers to the measurement of systolic and diastolic pressure of blood when it circulates through your body.

Systolic pressure is the maximum pressure exerted on the arteries when the blood is pumped through the body and refers to the pressure at the time of each heartbeat. The diastolic pressure refers to the lowest pressure exerted on the arteries in between each heart beat. The measurement of the systolic and diastolic pressures is important and if any of the two is significantly above the limit, the patient has high blood pressure.

The blood pressure is measured in terms of the mm hg or the millimeter of mercury.
Blood pressure is measured in a number of ways. You can measure your blood pressure at home by using portable electronic measuring devices.

Now we have blood pressure machines that are used at home. These are usually portable digital devices. However one of the most traditional of devices is the analog sphygmomanometer. It is a dependable device that is still used by many doctors. Let us see how this works.

You need to be in a comfortable position while measuring your blood pressure and should ensure that your arm is well supported. You may also need to lie down to have your BP measured. After that, a cuff is wrapped around your arm. This cuff is fastened in place with a Velcro fastener.

This cuff is attached to a rubber bulb. A second tube is attached to a reservoir of mercury, filled in a glass column. When the air is blown in the cuff through the rubber bulb, the cuff tightens your arm. Doctor checking the blood pressure, holds a stethoscope to the arm and listens to the pulse while withdrawing the air from the cuff. Systolic pressure is measured when the pulse is heard first and the diastolic pressure is measured when the doctor is unable to hear the sound of the pulse.