In my last blog, I had discussed the various causes of hypertension. Today we learn how to measure B.P. and the different types of instruments used to measure it. The first one [Fig.1] is Mercury sphygmomanometer which is the gold standard of B.P.measurement and a widely used one by doctors all over the world.
The second one [Fig.2] is the called Aneroid barometer and is a good portable one. The third one [Fig.3] is an electronic one-Digital BP apparatus– which needs to be calibrated and is also highly accurate and used mostly as a home measurement unit. The fourth one [Fig.4] is the Wrist B.P. measuring unit which is mostly used in obese people. I
On purchasing one of the BP apparatus, you have to attach the cuff of the instrument to your upper arm and inflate it either manually[in case of Mercury or Aneroid BP apparatus] or by pressing the start button on a digital/wrist instrument, as shown in Fig.2, then release the air. Then put a stethoscope in the crotch of your elbow in case of first 2 instruments [as shown below]. This is done by another person, either your family physician or your relative. After releasing the air slowly from the cuff, you can observe manually on Mercury Sphygmometer by hearing the sounds with a stethoscope applied at the crotch of your elbow. The reading at which you start hearing the sound is called Systolic BP and the reading at which the sound disappears is called the diastolic BP. For eg. if you hear the sound at 120, this is the systolic BP and if the sound disappears at 80, this the diastolic BP. In short, this will be recorded as 120/80 mm of Hg[Hg stands for mercury].
Similarly, in case of a digital BP apparatus, you do not need a stethoscope to hear the sounds. Simply press the start button after connecting the cuff to the arm and instrument as in Fig.3 and the instrument will record the BP and your pulse rate also and report it after the cuff deflates fully.
To get one of these instruments, just click here