How to Use an Electric Blood Pressure Monitor

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is considered one of the worlds most lethal “silent killers.” Often no symptoms whatsoever indicate whether or not a person suffers from hypertension. Occasionally, a person with high blood pressure may complain of headaches, but as many of us would reason, “Whats so unusual or deadly about a headache?”

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, more than likely your physician has recommended that you keep track of your blood pressure on a daily basis. If you have selected an electric blood pressure monitor (as opposed to a standard, manual device), read on to learn how to use an electric blood pressure monitor correctly.

Easier, But Less Accurate

Electric blood pressure monitors can be purchased at your local pharmacy, medical equipment supply store, or online. Keep in mind that although the electronic or digital monitors are easier to use, they are also not as accurate as the standard type of blood pressure monitor. Its wise to take your newly purchased monitor to your doctor to have it calibrated so that your readout is as accurate as possible.

There are many types of electric monitors that essentially all work in the same fashion. Some can even print out the reading results on paper. Its important that you keep and read the instructions to whatever type and model of monitor you purchase so that you can always refer back to it, if necessary.

Taking a Reading

Blood pressure readings should always be taken when you are relaxed and have been sitting still for at least five minutes. If youve just smoked a cigarette, need to urinate, or have drunk a caffeinated beverage (soda, tea, coffee, etc.), wait at least half an hour after doing so before taking your blood pressure.

Sit with your arm comfortably stretched out and fit the cuff snugly (but not too tightly!) onto your arm. The cuff should fit over the brachial artery found by feeling for the pulse which is located about an inch above the bend of your arm.

Inflate the cuff as directed in your particular type/model. When complete, the digital readout on the screen will give you your systolic and diastolic numbers, which are what you need to record as being your blood pressure for that day and time period.

Systolic pressure is the pressure placed on the artery walls when the heart is in its contracted phase. The diastolic number is the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is relaxed. Your doctor will most likely want you to take the blood pressure in both of your arms, and then record the one with the higher readout.

Its a good idea, if possible, to also have a standard type of blood pressure monitor on hand in addition to an electric or digital monitor. That way, in case your electric monitor malfunctions, you will always have a backup. But most importantly, continue to take and record your pressure every day. It just might save your life!