To fully utilize any blood pressure cuff or monitor, it is important to understand what blood pressure is and precisely what is being read by these medical devices. Having this information allows people to better understand their body and to articulate their concerns to qualified medical professionals during an examination. For this reason, the remainder of this article will focus on blood pressure in more depth.
Blood pressure is simply the pressure of the blood that is exerted onto blood vessel walls while circulating through the body. As most recall, there are two numbers associated with blood pressure. These numbers are generally translated into one number over the other. These two numbers represent the blood pressure while the heart is beating and at rest.
The largest number in a blood pressure reading is the result of a measurement while the heart is pumping blood. This is known as the systolic pressure and is measured when the heart is pumping blood.
The lowest number in a blood pressure reading is known as the diastolic pressure. This reading is taken when the heart is in between beats and at rest. Because the heart is resting, there is far less pressure on the blood vessel walls which explains the lower pressure.
Blood pressure is most commonly determined by using a blood pressure cuff or electronic monitor. The device is positioned near the elbow, over the brachial artery, at the lowest point of the upper arm. Since the brachial artery is a main blood vessel in the arm that carries blood away from the heart, this allows the cuff or monitor to precisely measure blood pressure.
To document blood pressure readings, medical professionals convey a reading in terms of systolic pressure over diastolic pressure, or as systolic pressure/diastolic pressure. For example, 110/70 is a good blood pressure reading for a healthy adult. In this example, 110 is the systolic pressure and 70 is the diastolic pressure.
In the adult blood pressure chart below, you may view the various degrees of blood pressure readings commonly encountered by medical professionals and how such readings are categorized. In the event of any abnormal reading taken at home, it is vital that individuals discuss these readings with a physician.
With a better understanding of what blood pressure readings are, it is our hope that you will better understand what blood pressure cuffs and monitors actually read. While home medical equipment is extremely useful, it is very important to discuss readings taken at home with your physician. Blood pressure readings are an important invasive procedure used to determine the health of one’s heart, but other factors considered by physicians do contribute to assessing the present state of health for each patient.