Sony Blood Pressure Monitors
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood inside an artery. A blood pressure measurement is taken by temporarily stopping the flow of blood in an artery (usually by inflating a cuff around the upper arm) and then listening for the sound of the blood beginning to flow through the artery again as air is released from the cuff.
As blood flows through the artery, it can be heard through a stethoscope placed on the skin over the artery. Blood pressure is recorded as two measurements.
The reading on the gauge when blood flow is first heard is called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure represents the peak blood pressure that occurs when the heart contracts.
The reading on the gauge when blood flow can no longer be heard is the diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure represents the lowest blood pressure that occurs when the heart relaxes between beats.
These two pressures are expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) because the original devices that measured blood pressure used a column of mercury. Blood pressure measurements are recorded as systolic/diastolic. For example, if your systolic pressure is 120 mm Hg and your diastolic pressure is 80 mm Hg, your blood pressure is recorded as 120/80 and read as "120 over 80."
Home blood pressure monitors
Home blood pressure monitors make it easy to measure your blood pressure at home. If you are concerned that you might have high blood pressure or if your family has a history of high blood pressure, you may want to consider getting a home blood pressure monitor. If you know you have high blood pressure, you may want to get one to monitor your response to any blood pressure medication you are taking regularly.
The two general types of blood pressure monitors commonly available are manual and automatic. (Automatic types may also be called electronic or digital.)
Manual blood pressure monitors
Manual models are similar to those that your health professional might use to take your blood pressure. Called a sphygmomanometer, these devices usually include an arm cuff, a squeeze bulb for inflation, a stethoscope or microphone, and a mechanical gauge to measure the blood pressure. Manual blood pressure monitors require good eyesight and hearing to use them correctly. There are two basic styles of manual blood pressure devices.
These display the blood pressure on a circular dial with a needle. As the pressure in the cuff rises, the needle moves clockwise on the dial. As the cuff pressure falls, the needle moves counterclockwise. Again, a stethoscope is required; some models have the stethoscope head permanently attached to the cuff. The aneroid devices are compact and inexpensive but somewhat difficult to use. Also, the dial gauges may need to be recalibrated from time to time to maintain their accuracy.
Automatic (also called electronic or digital) blood pressure monitors
Electronic battery-operated monitors use a microphone to detect blood pulsing in the artery instead of having to listen with a stethoscope. The cuff, which is attached to your wrist or upper arm, is connected to an electronic monitor that automatically inflates and deflates the cuff when you press the start button. First you place your wrist or upper arm inside the cuff. Then press the start button on the monitor and wait for a reading to display. The monitor records your pulse as well as your blood pressure.
The electronic devices are by far the easiest to use, but they are also the most expensive. Generally, the electronic models that use an arm cuff are more accurate than those that use a wrist cuff.
The type of blood pressure monitor typically found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and shopping malls is an electronic device.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM)
Another method of measuring blood pressure, called ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), may be ordered by your health professional to provide a more accurate picture of your blood pressure over time. ABPM may be done if a manual or an electronic method of measurement yields inconsistent results.
ABPM automatically records blood pressure over a period of a few hours to an entire day. The device generally consists of a cuff worn on one arm and a monitor worn around the waist. Your health professional's office will fit you with the monitor and provide instructions on its use.