A sphygmomanometer is a blood pressure machine, that allows checking your bp. It is also called the blood pressure meter, or blood pressure gauge, or blood pressure monitor. The normal level of blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. The upper pressure is the systolic pressure. Similarly, the lower pressure is known as the diastolic pressure. If the blood pressure of a person goes beyond this value, then the person may be subjected to hypertension (high blood pressure).
On the other hand, if the pressure goes below this value, then the person may be subjected to hypotension (low blood pressure). But the blood pressure is variable. So, the pressure can increase by various factors.
Types of blood pressure machine
There are mainly three types of blood pressure machines available in the market.
1. Mercury Sphygmomanometer
Mercury sphygmomanometer is a type of blood pressure machine, that uses the mercury level to indicate blood pressure. This is the most accurate type of blood pressure meter. However, due to the risk imposed by mercury, it has been banned in most countries.
2. Aneroid Sphygmomanometer
An aneroid sphygmomanometer is a type of analog blood pressure machine. The term, ‘aneroid’ refers to a system with no fluid in it. In our case, aneroid means there is no use of mercury. Instead of that, it consists of a clock-like structure that indicates the airway pressure.
You can use this machine in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and houses.
3. Digital Sphygmomanometer
With the advancement in technology, many kinds of machines are now available in the market for the measurement of blood pressure. The previous technology is quite difficult to use. So, normal people can not make proper use of it. It is also time-consuming. You may also need another person to carry on the blood pressure measurement. Hence to overcome this problem, digital automatic blood pressure machines are now available in the market. Thus it is widely used in home applications.
Parts of blood pressure machine
- Bladder:- The bladder can inflate and deflate as needed. The inflation is necessary to compress the arm for occluding the artery. So, for the proper occlusion of the artery, the bladder should have the proper size.
- Cuff:- The bladder is enclosed within the cuff. Thus, it holds the bladder around the arm. Just like the bladder, the cuff should also be of proper size.
- Manometer:- Manometer is a device that measures air pressure in mmHg. In the case of the aneroid sphygmomanometer, the manometer is like a pressure gauge that looks like a watch. In the case of a digital sphygmomanometer, the digital machine acts as a manometer. Also, in the case of the mercury sphygmomanometer, the vertical stand of mercury is the manometer.
- Bulb:- It is used to pump the air for the inflation of the bladder. In the case of a digital blood pressure meter, the machine provides air to the bladder.
- Valve:- It controls the deflation of the bladder.
Why do you need a digital blood pressure machine for home use?
If you are a patient with high or low blood pressure, then you need to monitor your blood pressure at home. You can use a digital machine in this case.
- Helps in the early diagnosis:- The data that you record in your house can be fruitful for the doctors for early diagnosis of diseases such as kidney-related diseases.
- Continuous recording of the bp:- As the automatic machine is easy to use, you can check your bp a number of times.
- Better bp control:- Since you can take a reading at any time that you like, you can better control your bp. You can do this by controlling your diet, changing your lifestyle, etc.
- Compare the blood pressure at home with that of the hospital:- Sometimes, there can exist higher variation in the blood pressure measured at home and the hospital. This can be due to white coat hypertension and masked hypertension.
(Note:- White coat hypertension is a condition in which the pressure of a person increases while visiting the clinics. Similarly, masked hypertension is a condition in which the pressure of a person increases/decreases away from the clinic.)
How to monitor bp?
If you are a normal person with no issue with blood pressure, then you need to measure it every two years. However, if you are a patient with abnormal blood pressure, then you need to check your bp frequently.
This is possible with the help of a blood pressure meter (bp set). There are various types of bp sets. So which one is necessary will depend on your health condition and location.
You need to take the reading two times a day. The first reading should be in the early morning. The second reading should be during the evening. So for this, go to the bathroom and empty your stomach and bladder. Do not take any food or medications. These factors can alter your blood pressure.
Take 2-3 readings at an interval of 1 minute. At last, find the average of these readings and find the approximate value.
The level of blood pressure keeps on changing throughout the day. Hence, if you need to check the pressure a number of times per day, you need to select the fixed times for measurement.
How to take blood pressure step by step?
Follow the following steps while taking the blood pressure.
First of all, choose the proper bp machine. For household purposes, use the digital machine. In hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies, an analog sphygmomanometer is better. Choose the cuff and the bladder of proper size. Else, it can cause an error in the measurement.
Avoid the following factors that can alter blood pressure.
- Physical Exercise
- Full stomach or bladder
- Caffeine, etc.
Blood pressure should be taken from the left upper arm. So you need to lift up the tight sleeves of your left arm. It is better to wear a t-shirt or shirt having the half sleeves. Remember that the pressure should not be measured on top of the cloth.
(Note:- Since the left arm is closer to the heart, it is chosen for measurement. However, the doctors can even measure the pressure in the right arm. )
Rest for about 5 minutes. This will allow the blood pressure to stabilize.
Sit straight on the chair with a table next to it. Support your back onto the chair. Place the left forearm on the table. The level of the forearm should be at the level of the heart. The palm of the left hand should be facing upwards. Similarly, the legs should not be crossed.
(Note:- The pressure exerted by the fluid depends on the level or height. If the arm is lowered, the pressure will increase. Similarly, if the arm is raised, the pressure will decrease. Hence the arm should be at the level of the heart.)
Place the blood pressure cuff around the arm. Make sure that the tube of the cuff does not face downward, or sideways. Rather it should face upward towards the elbow region.
Make sure that the edges of the cuff do not go below the bend of the elbow.
Then tighten the cuff in such a way that your index and middle finger can slightly go beneath the cuff at the bending part of the elbow.
In the case of the aneroid type of blood pressure machine, place the pressure gauge on the top edge of the cuff. Make sure that you can easily see the reading on the gauge. The wider part of the chest piece of the stethoscope should go on top of the brachial artery located slightly above the bending part of the elbow. Put the other end of the stethoscope to your ears.
Rapidly squeeze the pump of the bulb a couple of times. This will cause inflation of the bladder enclosed between the cuffs. The indicator of the gauge will begin to rise up. Once the gauge rises to 30-40 mmHg of your normal pressure, close the valve. Generally, you can squeeze the pump until the needle in the gauge points to 160- 170 mmHg pressure.
Now by rotating the knob of the valve, release the air. The bladder will begin to deflate. The rate of deflation should be in such a way that, per second the needle in the gauge should travel about two lines.
In the case of the digital blood pressure machine, turn on the blood pressure machine. Press the start button. Then the cuff will begin to inflate. This will exert a certain pressure on the arms. After few seconds, the cuff will begin to deflate.
(Note:- During the time of measurement, you are not supposed to move at all. Make sure to follow step 5, all the time)
Now pay attention to the reading in the gauge. When you hear the heartbeat, mark the reading of the pressure gauge. It will be your systolic pressure.
Keep on listening to the heartbeat. At a certain point, you will stop hearing the heartbeat. Mark this pressure. This pressure is known as diastolic pressure.
In the case of the digital sphygmomanometer, the machine will automatically display systolic and diastolic pressure on the display.
Accuracy of the blood pressure machine
When it comes to accuracy, the mercury sphygmomanometer is the best. After that comes the analog machine followed by the digital machine. So, if possible it is better to compare both of them with the mercury sphygmomanometer. This will help to reduce the error.
You can only use the digital machine as a reference. So, just by looking at the reading shown in the display, you should not make any kind of assumption about your health condition. You need to verify it with your doctor.
However, this will give you an approximate idea about your pressure level. This will help the doctors in your treatment.
Blood Pressure Machine Price in Nepal
There is a great variation in the price of the blood pressure machine.
In the case of the analog sphygmomanometer, the price can range from Rs 2000 to Rs 4000. The very important thing here is that some companies will also give you a stethoscope while others will not do so. If you want to buy an analog type of blood pressure machine you can contact the given number (+977-1-4796078/4796069/4796080/4796081). The company is known as the Sunrise Surgical House which is located in Tripureswor, Kathmandu.
In the case of the digital blood pressure machine, the price can range from around Rs 2000 to Rs 6,000 in the Nepalese Market. I will give you the contact details in the next topic.
The price will be even higher if you purchase it via an online system.
Top blood pressure machine in Nepal
Based on my experience, the best blood pressure machine available in the Nepalese market is that of Microlife and the Rossmax Company. Both of them are Swiss-based products. The products are reliable and easy to operate. Besides that, the supplier will give you at least two years of warranty.
If you want to buy a Rossmax product, you can contact the given number (+977 984-7694296) or click on the link. This supplier is Infinity Medicals Nepal which is located near Grande City Hospital of Kathamandu. They have also got the option of home delivery. Similarly, if you want to purchase the product of Microlife company, you can contact the given number (+977 9851133530) or click on the link. The company is New Himalayan Surgical House which is located in Tripureswor, Kathmandu.