In the ‘old days’, doctors took blood pressure with a large, scratchy piece of fabric that they wrapped around your upper arm. They then erratically pumped air into the fabric until you thought your arm would explode. Today, taking blood pressure is easier, faster and more comfortable with the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitors. These monitors are great for checking blood pressure over an extended period of time.
First, the basics of what a blood pressure monitor does. Blood pressure is created in the blood vessels of the body as the heart pumps blood into the circulatory system. As the heart contracts, you can measure that systolic pressure with a blood pressure cuff. Similarly, you can measure diastolic pressure, in the moment when the heart muscle relaxes.
Knowing both of these pressure readings can help a doctor see whether your heartbeat is within normal ranges. The normal range for systolic pressure is around 120 to 140 beats per minute, and around 80-90 beats per minute diastolic pressure.
Most people don’t realize that high blood pressure doesn’t usually come with built in symptoms. And the only way to find out for certain whether you have high blood pressure is by using a blood pressure monitor.
Blood Pressure Monitors
There are several different blood pressure monitor models and styles, among them the wristband blood pressure monitor and an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. Both are used for different reasons. If your doctor wants your blood pressure checked several times a day, for example, it’s more feasible for you to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
You wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor so your doctor can record blood pressure every fifteen minutes to half an hour while you go about your business. You don’t have to stay in the hospital or doctor’s office with this particular monitor.
A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around the upper left arm, like usual, and under clothing if needed. The blood pressure monitor cuff is connected to a small monitor about the size of an old fashioned transistor radio that can be attached to a belt or slid into a pants pocket.
The ambulatory monitor is the best one to use when a doctor is monitoring a patient who might have borderline high blood pressure, or if high blood pressure has been difficult to control. Monitoring your daily activities with this special blood pressure monitor makes it easy on both patient and doctor.
The ambulatory blood pressure monitor cuff checks blood pressure automatically. You don’t have to do anything and it works while you’re sleeping, eating, gardening or watching television. The doctor will probably want you to record your activities during the day so he’ll know how often and when you were active or sedentary. You usually wear this monitor for twenty-four hours and then return to the doctor’s office. Medical personnel will transfer the information stored in the monitor to a computer that will process the information.
An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is an efficient, painless way to record blood pressure over time. In addition, it gives you the freedom to get on with your daily activities and chores.