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.
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.
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.
Best Brands of Blood Pressure Monitor
- Omron M2 Basic Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor
Omron M2 Basic home blood pressure monitor is a simple, fully automatic upper arm blood pressure monitor that ensures comfortable, quick, and accurate blood pressure readings. It is equipped with Intellisense technology which ensures the cuff reaches the correct inflation and doesn't pump up too high and cause discomfort. It also can detect irregular heartbeat during your usual blood pressure monitoring.
- Electronic Blood Pressure Monitor with Voice Function
This Portable Digital Machine with Voice Function LCD liquid crystal screen will display blood pressure levels and help you know your blood pressure level easily. The product displays readings in real-time, monitors abnormal heart conditions, and prompts irregular pulse phenomenon. This product also has double 99 memory groups storage, intelligent pressurization, displays time and date, and measures average value.
- Yuwell Blood Pressure Monitor
The Yuwell Blood Pressure Monitor is a clinically validated automatic blood pressure monitor. Measurements are taken from the upper arm and it is intended for self-measurement and home use.
- Omron 10 Series Blood Pressure Monitor
The Omron 10 Series Wireless Bluetooth Upper Arm home blood pressure monitor has a horizontally designed dual-display monitor. It stores up to 200 readings per two users (100 each) and includes a pre-formed Easy-Wrap Comfit Cuff (fits arms 9” to 17” in circumference). It is the number one doctor and pharmacist recommended brand.
- Andon Automated Electronic Blood Pressure Monitor
This is used by medical professionals or at home and is a non-invasive blood pressure measurement system intended to calculate blood pressure readings and pulse rate of an adult by using a non-invasive technique in which an inflatable cuff is wrapped around the arm.
- Manual Blood Pressure Monitor (Manual Sphygmomanometer)
Although it is used along with a stethoscope, it is the most accurate and long-lasting blood pressure monitor. It consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit, and a mechanism for inflation which may be a manually operated bulb and valve or a pump operated electrically. It is basically used in hospitals and hospitals can source original manual blood pressure monitors via firstmedtrade.com
- The most appropriate time to take your blood pressure reading is in the morning after rising from bed. Ensure you sit for at least 5 minutes and measure at 10-minute intervals between both arms.
- Be comfortable. Make sure your bladder is empty and you have had 1 minute to breathe. Take off bulky clothes from your upper body. Place your feet uncrossed on the floor and rest your forearm on a table or chair arm that is at heart level.
- Attach the cuffs. If you are using the upper arm cuffs, the bottom edge should be about 1 inch above the elbow bend.
- Power up the monitor. Be sure to check the specific instructions on your monitor.
- Inflate the cuff and wait patiently. Remember to breathe as usual.
- Pay attention to the numbers. Read the monitor to get the number and write it down somewhere if necessary.
- Take a second reading. Release the pressure of the cuff before you take a second reading
How To Use Blood Pressure Monitors
Why take more than one blood pressure reading? Taking multiple readings improves accuracy and provides an image of blood pressure over time when collecting measurements over days or weeks. You can talk to your doctor about how often you measure your blood pressure.
Checking Your Blood Pressure—At home vs. the doctor’s office Many people discover that they have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office, sometimes because they’re less at ease there and because professional tools may be more accurate.
Blood pressure measurements taken at home may be less accurate than those taken at the doctor’s office, where manual checks are possible. One way to ensure that you get consistent blood pressure readings is to take your monitor to an appointment and compare the results.
Make sure you are using the device correctly and consult your doctor to confirm its accuracy. Be consistent and measure your blood pressure at the same time each day. Sit in the same position, avoid caffeine, and rest in a timely manner and get the best results.
Why take your blood pressure monitor to the doctor? At the doctor’s office, readings can be compared and calibrated while the device is running, allowing a doctor or nurse to manually check blood pressure. This helps determine the accuracy of your readings.
Did you know? Your doctor may also tell you that you have something called prehypertension. That's when your BP is just a bit higher than 120/less than 80. Prehypertension can increase the risk of damage to your arteries, heart, brain, and kidneys. Many doctors say prehypertension needs to be treated. Still, there is no evidence that it will be useful in the long run. This evidence shows the importance of having a blood pressure monitor in every home in Nigeria. If you are above 35 years of age, you need to have a blood pressure monitor handy.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can be controlled. The first step is to check your blood pressure regularly.
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