Blood pressure monitors are very common in hospitals, clinics, and other medical vicinities. These are perhaps the most used medical devices in the world, still, a lot of people do not know how to use them or what is the technique behind them.
If you are one of those people who want to know how does a blood pressure cuff work then you have landed on the right page. Let’s learn together how different blood pressure monitors work and how a blood pressure cuff actually works.
How does a blood pressure cuff work?
It is not a difficult technique to measure a person’s blood pressure.
The classic method of measuring blood pressure is said to be invented by an Italian physician called Scipione Riva-Rocci. His auscultatory technique to check blood pressure involved only an arm cuff and a stethoscope attached to a manometer.
The arm cuff is also known as a blood pressure cuff. In the traditional technique, the blood pressure cuff is filled up with air with help of a pump that cuts off the blood circulation of the main artery known as the brachial, and then the pressure is released slowly. This releasing of the pressure will drop the blood pressure level and gradually return to the artery. However, the flow of the blood remains turbulent for the time the artery is compressed partially.
This compression of the artery and then release will result in a pulsating, muffled sound known as Korotkoff sound, and counting them on the stethoscope to integrate it into a microphone will result in measuring the blood pressure.
However, this classic technique has been widely taken over by automatic blood pressure monitors. The automatic blood pressure monitors are used by doctors, hospitals, clinics, and even at home. Even though the automated devices work on the same method which was developed by the Italian physician but in contrast with the technique he used, the automatic monitors give far better results as they work on the oscillation or vibrations of the vascular wall rather than the auscultation technique.
Let’s talk about automatic blood pressure monitors and how does a blood pressure cuff work in an automatic monitor?
The automatic blood pressure monitors consist of an inflatable cuff that can be wrapped around the arm, and a monitoring device that measures the pressure in the cuff while the blood pressure level from the heart is monitored.
The automatic blood pressure monitoring device monitors two pressures namely systolic and diastolic.
Systolic pressure – This pressure tends to be on the higher side. It occurs when the heart pushes the blood towards the arteries and beats.
Diastolic pressure – This is the pressure that is measured when the heart is at the resting stage and the arteries are getting filled with blood again.
So, for instance, if the blood pressure is said to be 120 by 80 that means that the systolic pressure is 120 whereas 80 is the diastolic pressure.
The blood pressure monitors can be of any kind whether digital or manual but usually, the monitors used at home are digital because their mechanism is easier to understand and use. The whole measurement process in the digital styled monitoring device is automatic, just the cuff needs to be placed on the arm manually.
How are blood pressure readings taken?
Initially, blood pressure readings need some kind of thought process and preparation but once you get the hang of it, you can easily do it without blinking an eye.
To take readings of blood pressure you need to:
- Position the arm in the correct way – Make sure that you have placed your arm on a flat surface and the arm level is direct with your heart so that there is no error in the final reading on the monitoring device.
- Place the cuff properly – It is very important to place the cuff properly on your arm for the readings to be accurate. You need to place the cuff just at the edge of your elbow. The instruction manual for the blood pressure monitoring device will also give you clear instructions on how to do it but this is how a cuff is placed on the arm when blood pressure is monitored.
- Relax – This is the first and foremost thing you must do before checking your blood pressure on a monitoring device. If you have recently exercised then it is important to wait for about 30 minutes and if you took caffeine then make sure its effect is gone. Rest and relax for a few minutes. Once you are ready to get your blood pressure readings taken, sit upright and in a comfortable posture with your feet flat on the ground and support at your back.
When is it necessary to check the blood pressure?
If you have bought a blood pressure monitoring device as per the advice of the doctor then he will also tell you when you are supposed to take the readings.
Most of the time, the doctors advise taking the blood pressure reading at the same time of the day for a span of a week or a few days as per their recommendation for the comparison.
This comparison is later used to calculate the average of the readings so the doctor can determine whether the blood pressure is being regulated or not.
Blood pressure monitoring devices
Blood pressure monitoring devices have become a household item now. They have become a necessity as more people need to monitor their blood pressure. One of the main reasons why doctors recommend their patients own a monitoring device at home is that high blood pressure for a long time can result in damage to the heart or arteries.
Checking blood pressure at different intervals is recommended so that if it’s high, medication can be given promptly.
There are so many different types of blood pressure monitors available in the market that it can become quite a painstaking task to choose from them. Every monitor seems to endorse that they are the best.
We have compiled a list of the best available blood pressure monitors in the market for your ease of choice and use at home.
Best smart blood pressure monitor
Withings BPM Connect is a uniquely designed blood pressure monitor that is Bluetooth enabled as well. It is designed to give accurate readings and give unlimited storage for data. It also comes with the option of notifying your doctor about the blood pressure readings.
It comes with Withings BPM Connect which enables it to display the readings on the monitor. Let’s have a look at its pros and cons.
- It has a long battery life
- The interface is user-friendly
- Portable and compact design
- The software quality used is considerably low compared to other monitoring devices in the market
- It is prone to give inaccurate results
- The customer service is poor
Best budgeted blood pressure monitor
If you are looking for a budgeted blood pressure monitoring device then iHealth Track will be perfect for you. This monitor is said to be pocket friendly and is also cleared by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The device is said to be very straightforward and simple to use.
This particular monitoring device is said to monitor the rhythm of the heart as well. It can store at least 99 readings on the device and give the facility of unlimited readings records once connected with the app of iHealth.
Here are its pros and cons.
- It has an easy-to-read screen, the display is color-coded
- The design is comfortable
- Give the option of downloading the data and sharing it with your physician
- Inconsistent results or recording
- The size might be too small for some users
Best blood pressure monitoring device for multiple users
If there is more than one user in a household who needs their blood pressure to be monitored, then the Omron Bluetooth blood pressure monitor is absolutely the best possible option available on the market. It offers unlimited readings for unlimited users.
It has a lot of benefits such as it is portable and the cuff is attached to a wireless device that can extend from nine to seventeen inches, suiting every kind of human being.
The best part is that every user can create their different accounts on Omron and record their readings and keep track.
Here are the pros and cons of this device.
- Consistent and accurate readings
- The design is intuitive
- Cordless and lightweight
- Bluetooth sometimes gives connectivity issues
- The Omron connect app asks for personal information
- The monitor cannot store readings on its own.
Blood pressure monitoring device for people with large arms
This monitoring device is preferred by people who are obese or have large arms. The cuff can be extended anywhere from 16.5 to a whopping 23.6 inches, making it perfect for people who find it hard to get their blood pressure monitored on regular devices.
Getting their blood pressure checked on a small cuff can be very uncomfortable and it can also lead to inaccurate results. The monitor might also detect an irregular heartbeat because of the added discomfort caused by the small cuff.
The drawback is that it doesn’t have enough storage to hold readings in it. It can hold up to 60 readings maximum
Here are its pros and cons
- Remarkably good value compared to the price
- Wide and easy-to-read screen
- Cuff is comfortable and adjustable
- It might cause bruises to the large arms
- It might be too wide for a few people
Best blood pressure monitoring device that comes with EKG
The best blood pressure monitoring device that also has an EKG facility is Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor With EKG. This device is exceptionally amazing and it stands out amongst its counterpart in the market as it can measure the pulse, and can detect the rhythms of the heartbeat like tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, sinus rhythm, and bradycardia.
Another benefit of this device is that it allows the transformation of unlimited data on the Omron Connect app.
The cuff size is flexible and it gives accurate results. The only drawback is that the monitor is slightly bulkier as compared to the other devices and may become a hassle when you want to carry it while traveling.
The price tag is slightly higher compared to its competitors but if we look at the offerings, it’s totally worth it.
Have a look at its pros and cons
- The cuff is extremely comfortable
- Accurate, easy, and quick readings
- Excellent quality against the cost
- It will require a gadget or a phone to work
- The Omron Connect app will require a certain subscription fee and will also raise your privacy concerns.
Best blood pressure monitoring device in a compact style
When it comes to compact blood pressure monitoring devices, the Vaunn Medical vB100A Automatic digital blood pressure monitor beats its competitors. It works on the SmartCheck technology and can display as many as three different blood pressure readings consecutively making it more accurate.
The monitor can also detect heartbeats that might be irregular.
This compact device is easy to use and is considered reliable. It also offers the user to set up at least two different accounts for the users as well as a guest account to record the readings. It also has a storage case, making it easier to carry while traveling.
Its pros and cons are
- Stores the data of two users
- The results are color-coded
- It is very budget friendly
- The cuff might be too wide and long for few people
- It gives inaccurate results sometimes
You might be monitoring the blood pressure using a device that is automatic or is simply old-fashioned, the important aspect is that monitoring the blood pressure has now become a routine at most of the healthcare organizations, hospitals, and practices.
A major population across the globe has developed arterial hypertension which is still undetected and if it is left untreated that might lead to permanent damage to the heart or the cardiovascular system as well as other organs such as kidneys and eyes.
It is very important to include blood pressure and heartbeat monitoring in life at an early stage so that these diseases can be countered beforehand.