Blood Pressure Monitors—Take Control of Your Health

Blood Pressure Monitors—Take Control of Your Health

High blood pressure—in men and women—is a serious problem and a major cause of premature death worldwide. This is why you need to take control of your health by using a blood pressure monitor. Medical experts warn that as many as 76.2 million Nigerians are suffering from high blood pressure. The prevalence of hypertension is about 38.1% (76.2 million out of an average population of 200 million).

In Nigeria, almost one in three adults (33.3%) suffer from high blood pressure, while only one-third of this figure (about 23 million) are on treatment. A Nigerian Heart Foundation survey showed that the awareness of hypertension is more in the urban than rural cities and more among women than men. Poor health education, daily hustle for survival resulting in stress, and long-held religious beliefs that hypertension and other chronic illnesses are spiritual have contributed to the growing number—many of whom are unaware that they have the condition. These are multifactorial genetic and age-related disorders and the reality is that treatment only limits their progression.

Regardless of these depressing statistics, high blood pressure is not unavoidable. There are many things you can do to prevent, delay, and treat your condition. One way to prevent or delay high blood pressure is to check your blood pressure regularly with a blood pressure monitor.

Definition of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

The blood that is pumped into the circulatory system is under pressure like the water in the pipes of a house. And just as too much water pressure can damage pipes and faucets, elevated blood pressure can mean something bad. High blood pressure occurs when the force on the arterial wall is abnormally high.

Over time, increased pressure can cause different types of problems. Small bulges called aneurysms can form in the blood vessels. The heart becomes enlarged and the risk of heart failure increases. Damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys can cause the kidneys to fail. It can also cause vision problems,
heart attacks, and stroke.

Many factors can lead to high blood pressure.

Diet plays a role.

Too much salt.

Too little potassium.

Too much alcohol.

Excess stress or too little physical activity increases your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Overweight or obese.

And like many chronic illnesses, family history suggests that genetics plays a role.

In some patients, high blood pressure may be related to other medical problems or may be a side effect of certain drugs. This form of the disease is called
secondary hypertension because it occurs as a result of other illnesses.

Who Should Use a Blood Pressure Monitor and Why?

People with high blood pressure should consider having a blood pressure monitor at home, it is especially important for the following groups of patients:

People who are starting high blood pressure medications. This helps to ensure that they are on the right dose.

Patients with other coexisting conditions such as type 2 diabetes or kidney disease.

Pregnant women with signs of pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia.

People who have had high or borderline readings in the doctor’s office, but need to confirm that they really have hypertension.

People who may have “white-coat hypertension," a condition where their blood pressure is normal at home but rises when they’re nervous at a doctor’s office.

Blood Pressure Monitor—How It Works, Readings, and What They Mean

The device used to measure blood pressure is called a Blood Pressure Monitor or Sphygmomanometer. They usually work by inflating the cuff wrapped around
the upper arm until it temporarily stops blood flow through the brachial artery. The pressure in the cuff is then slowly released.

Inside the cuff, a sensor detects blood flow and measures the pressure of the blood that hits the arteries. The point at which the blood begins to flow irregularly
through the artery as the heart beats is the systolic blood pressure. This is the top and higher number on a blood pressure reading. The point at which blood flow changes from unstable to stable is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the bottom number.

While the monitor is sensing the blood flow, it can also calculate your heart rate. Normal blood pressure rises from about 64/40 at birth to about 120/80 in
healthy adults. If someone measures your blood pressure right after you give a speech or just after jogging for 5 miles, it'd probably be a bit high. You don't have to worry about this. It's natural for blood pressure to rise and fall as activities and emotional states change.

It's also normal for blood pressure to vary from person to person, and from one area of the body to another. But if your blood pressure remains high, talk to your doctor about treatment.

How high is too high for your blood pressure? People with readings of 130/80 or higher on at least two occasions are said to have high blood pressure. If yours
is 180/120 or above, see a doctor immediately.

Factors to consider when choosing your blood pressure monitor

The following factors are important when buying a blood pressure monitor:

Location: Blood pressure monitors that measure blood pressure on the upper arm are usually considered to be the most accurate.

Size and fit: To ensure accuracy, choose a monitor that fits snugly on your upper arm. If you are smaller or larger than the average size, make sure the monitor
is suitable for your measurements. Size is also a consideration when using the device on the go. In that case, choose a lightweight and compact design that
comes with a high-quality carrying case.

Special feature: Choose a monitor that works on its own and stores readings internally. Some devices transfer data to your personal device and connect to
apps that provide detailed readings. Consider the display screen, options for multiple users, and extra capabilities such as irregular heartbeat detection.

Accuracy: Accuracy is important when it comes to your health information, so try to include only monitors that are known for their high accuracy.

Price: Blood pressure monitors are available at different prices, so we have done our best to present various budget options.

Customer review: There are some things only the person who bought and used the blood pressure monitor can know. That's why we focused on what real
users have to say about their experience.