Learn how monitoring your blood pressure plays a vital role in maintaining heart health. From understanding
blood pressure monitor readings to embracing technological innovations, we’ll provide valuable insights and
practical tips to empower you on your journey to better cardiovascular health.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a
situation where the pressure of the blood flowing in your blood vessels is too high. Many people with high blood
pressure don’t show any signs or symptoms. Although there are no unique symptoms you may feel, some signs may
indicate the presence of high blood pressure, like dizziness, chest pains, and headaches.
These symptoms are some general signs that may also indicate the presence of other conditions as well, like any
heart disease, lung condition, or any other related disorder. Hence when you start to experience any such signs,
the best way to react is to take regular blood pressure measurements and then contact your doctor. If the doctor
feels that the measurements are not normal blood pressure readings, they will devise a plan to manage your high
What is the Main Cause of High Blood Pressure?
It is important to know what causes high blood pressure in people. Many risk factors cause primary hypertension
and secondary hypertension, the persistence of which eventually leads to fatal conditions, even among younger
people, such as heart attacks.
Excessive salt intake causes the blood to retain larger amounts of water and thus increases its volume. This
higher volume of blood exerts more pressure on the walls of blood vessels. In addition to this, an unhealthy
weight can also be a factor, as it causes the blood vessels to become narrower and more stiff, which causes the
blood to flow with higher pressure.
Alcohol consumption and smoking also play a role in this regard as these substances have ingredients like
nicotine that directly impact the lining of your blood vessels, decreasing the area where the blood has to pass
and thus increasing the possibility of high blood pressure.
A person’s family history can also lead to them having a higher possibility of developing high blood pressure.
This works if both of your parents suffer from high blood pressure and you have a habit of drinking alcohol or
In addition, women are at a higher risk of getting high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is
preeclampsia. Most women get cured of this automatically when they give birth. But this
can persist and get worse, sometimes putting the lives of both mother and the baby at risk.
Why Monitor High Blood Pressure
The persistence of high blood pressure can have many long-term effects on the health of people that are
diagnosed with it. The harm to your body is being done at all times with the presence of this condition, even if
you are unaware of it. This is why it is known as a “silent killer.”
It can lead to the damaging of the lines of blood vessels like arteries. The blood vessels are made up of very
smooth materials from the inside. If the blood flowing through them exerts even a little more pressure than they
normally used to, it may damage the lining of these blood vessels causing the cells to corrode. Damage to the
heart can also occur, largely due to the effect of damaged blood vessels.
Damage to the brain and its system is also likely due to the prevalence of high blood pressure. Severe
conditions like stroke may occur due to damaged blood vessels if there is any delay in diagnosing high blood
Measuring and Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home
The process of
measuring blood pressure levels at home is a very simple one. You will need equipment
like a basic blood pressure monitor (preferably an upper arm monitor rather than a wrist monitor), a
stethoscope, and a chart to record your measurements that can be shared with your doctor.
Make sure you haven’t taken caffeine, smoked, or conducted any form of physical exertion like heavy exercise
before at least thirty minutes of checking your blood pressure.
It is important to be seated in the correct position to ensure maximum accuracy. Then follow this step-by-step
- Position the cuff into your upper arm area, making sure that they are directly in contact.
- Carefully put the stethoscope in the lower elbow area, right above the brachial artery.
- Inflate the cuff if using the manual meter and let the pressure in the monitor rise to a considerable
- Once this level is high enough, release the pressure and let the cuff deflate. This is where the
stethoscope will come into play. Notice the reading on the monitor when a sound starts. This is the systolic
pressure. Next, notice when the sound stops. This will be the diastolic pressure.
Understanding Blood Pressure Monitor Readings
The correct interpretation of blood pressure checks is very important for people with blood pressure diagnoses.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of Mercury (mmHg) and contains two readings: systolic and diastolic
The bigger number in your readings indicates the systolic blood pressure. This shows the pressure of blood in
your arteries when the blood is being pushed away from the heart. It gives a clear idea of the force exerted by
blood on the walls of arteries. The other number in the readings is the diastolic pressure, showing the pressure
of blood while the heart is at rest. It gives an idea of how well your blood vessels act while the heart is at
rest, in refilling it again with blood.
Healthy blood pressure consists of both systolic and diastolic levels in a safe range. Systolic pressure below
120 mmHg is considered healthy. Any reading exceeding 140 mmHg systolic pressure is a dangerous level. Diastolic
pressure must be below 80 mmHg to be considered healthy, and any level above 100 mmHg is considered dangerous.
Although these guidelines are generally true, there may be certain exceptions as to what is considered a
dangerous range for you, depending on your health.
Blood Pressure Monitoring for Different Age Groups
There are different requirements for healthy and safe blood pressure for each age group. The presence of this
condition is quite rare in young children and adolescents. However, if there are signs of any early presence of
high blood pressure conditions, regular checkups must be done as it can be an indicator that they might have
other dangerous health conditions.
As young children grow into young adults, there are some changes in their daily lives, especially as they
progress into their professional sphere. Due to the inclusion of a greater deal of work-related stress and
subsequent exposure to unhealthy lifestyles, they are at an increased risk of getting high blood pressure. Hence
monitoring blood pressure on a regular basis is important, especially if you have habits that put you at
The same is the case with middle-aged people who are more prone to get high blood pressure due to dealing with
stress. This is the age where they should look out for any signs and monitor blood pressure regularly. As a
person enters old age, a range of other health issues emerge and can have a negative effect if combined with
high blood pressure. This is why they should get their blood pressure monitored and visit a doctor much more
Blood Pressure Monitoring and Gender Differences
Blood Pressure patterns can vary between genders. Although the effects of high blood pressure are largely the
same in all people, there are some differences in levels between men and women. These differences occur due to
hormonal fluctuations in women, particularly during pregnancy, menopause, or menstrual cycles. These factors
reiterate the significance of personalized care treatments for high blood pressure.
As explained above, women often have lower blood pressure than men, especially before menopause. However, as
women age and hormonal changes occur, the risk of high blood pressure can increase significantly. During
pregnancy, blood pressure needs to be closely monitored due to the potential development of gestational blood
pressure or preeclampsia, which can pose serious health risks for both the mother and the baby.
Healthcare providers consider these gender-specific differences when interpreting blood pressure readings.
Personalized healthcare strategies can ensure that women receive appropriate guidance and interventions to
maintain optimal cardiovascular health. By being aware of these variations, individuals can proactively monitor
and make informed choices that contribute to a healthier life, regardless of gender.
White Coat Hypertension
White coat hypertension is a phenomenon that causes your blood pressure to rise due to anxiety and immediate
stress associated with visiting a doctor or a medical facility.
This is caused due to the sudden release of adrenaline, the flight or fight hormone. When you feel nervous
while visiting a doctor, your body prepares for this by releasing hormones like adrenaline that heighten your
senses and constrict your blood vessels, increasing blood pressure. Therefore, the effect of this factor is felt
while measuring your blood pressure at the doctor’s facility.
To overcome this, it is recommended to take blood pressure measurements at home rather than visiting the doctor
each time. Moreover, doctors take multiple readings to omit any error occurring due to white-coat hypertension.
A range of relaxation techniques are employed to make sure that you are not under any stress.
Technical Advancements in Blood Pressure Monitoring
As is the case with most domains, the field of blood pressure monitoring too has gone through a series of
technological advancements, making the process more efficient. There have been a series of inventions that
complement traditional monitors to make the process much smoother.
A range of smart wearable devices like smartwatches has been introduced that use PPG technology to detect the
changes in blood volume under your skin and get an idea of your blood pressure. In addition to this, many
smartphone applications have hit the market that often work with external accessories to turn your phones into
blood pressure monitors and have been shown to give satisfactory results.
Moreover, multiple wireless connected blood pressure monitors have emerged that connect with your phone or
other devices to make data storage and transfer much more efficient. This ensures that you don’t have to keep a
paper record that needs to be updated manually, eliminating chances of error in this intricate matter. Consult
your doctor to know how you
can benefit from these gadgets.