As our heart beats it pushes blood around the body to provide oxygen to support the function of all the cells that make up our body. The force of the blood against the walls of our blood vessels is known as Blood Pressure.
Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood around the body and to each and every organ. Blood pressure is categorised into 3 different groups low (90/60 or lower), normal (above 90/60 and below 130/80), and high (140/90). The 2 numbers that are recorded show the systolic (number on the top) and the diastolic pressure (number on the bottom). Systolic pressure is the pressure created when the heart beats and diastolic pressure is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes.
A high blood pressure can put increased pressure on your arteries and the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Heart disease is most commonly caused by hyertension (high blood pressure) or arteriosclerosis (a thickening of the blood vessels due to fatty deposits) and is the most common cause of death in the UK.
There are various devices available on the market to measure blood pressure but some are not always as precise or easy to use as one would hope and it takes practise to take blood pressure the old fashioned way with these:
Braun has developed a blood pressure monitor that is simple to use at home to give accurate and comfortable readings. By using such a device like this those with elevated blood pressure can provide their doctor with invaluable data on their blood pressure within a more relaxed environment than that of a doctors surgery. Some people suffer from white coat syndrome so their blood pressure increases at the thought of going to the doctors or at the doctors surgery, home readings avoid misdiagnosis of conditions. Readings may not be precise where people are suffering from underlying conditions such as diabetes and those with pacemakers.
When taking blood pressure:
1. No stimulants or depressants should be taken within 2 hours of taking the blood pressure such as nicotine, caffeine, alcohol etc. as they will affect the readings taken.
2. Make sure the person is seated and also relaxed.
3. The size of the cuff can also affect readings if too small (it will give a higher blood pressure than it should) or too large (it will give a lower blood pressure than it should).
4. Sit up straight and don’t move or drink.
5. The cuff should be at the same level as your heart and the monitor should be stationary whilst the reading is being taken.
6. Make sure that any jewellery and watches have been removed before taking blood pressure readings.
7. Remove clothing from the arm to be used.
I tried the Braun Exact Fit 5 Blood Pressure Monitor and found that the monitor was very easy to use. It comes with the 4 batteries required to get started straight away and 2 different size adult cuffs to ensure your readings are accurate.
Once the batteries have been inserted the next step is to get the monitor up to date and time by using the clock and arrow on the far right.
There are very few buttons which makes this extremely difficult to get it wrong. Once set up it is this simple to use watch this:
With the push of one button the device does all the work for you. The monitor can record up to 60 readings and give an average for the last week used. The measurements are easy to read and the accuracy of the device has been clinically proven.
To help reduce the risk of heart disease:
1. Don’t smoke / reduce the amount you smoke.
2. Avoid fatty foods and eat plenty of oily fish like Salmon and Mackerel. Make sure you eat plenty of natural fibre. A Mediterranean diet has been shown to be to be very effective in reducing risk factors of heart disease.
3. Watch your weight.
4. Try and get plenty of exercise.
5. Drink alcohol in moderation.
6. Try and keep stress levels down.
7. Eat less salt.