Monitoring Blood Pressure is Key to Maintaining Adult Health
Monitoring Blood Pressure Key to Maintaining Adult Health
As adults get older, regular blood pressure monitoring becomes increasingly important as blood pressure acts as a key warning sign of heart disease, a leading cause of death and serious illness.
Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing through the arteries, and it reflects how hard the heart is working to deliver adequate blood flow. Blood pressure is expressed in terms of systolic pressure, that is, the pressure exerted when the heart pumps blood into the arteries, and diastolic pressure, the pressure between heart beats. Medical professionals typically measure blood pressure with sphygmomanometers, and the measurement is expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
Why High Blood Pressure Is a Problem
The evidence linking high blood pressure to several very serious illnesses is very clear, making identifying and treating high blood pressure a critical health priority.
More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control. High blood pressure can, over time, contribute to several very serious illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Normal blood pressure typically ranges between 100-140 mm HG systolic and 60-90 mm HG diastolic. Doctors diagnose hypertension when blood pressure is above 140/90 mm HG systolic/diastolic.
Some common facts about the consequences of high blood pressure:
- High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke among adult Americans.
- About one in three adults in the U.S. have hypertension.
- High blood pressure contributes to almost 1,000 deaths per day in the U.S.
- Only about 50 percent of people with high blood pressure are effectively treating the condition.
- Health care costs associated with high blood pressure top $51 billion each year in the U.S.
- High blood pressure makes patients four times more likely to suffer a fatal stroke.
- High blood pressure makes patients four times more likely to suffer fatal heart disease.
- Between 2000 and 2010, the rate of kidney failure attributed to high blood pressure rose by 7.7 percent.
Hypertension rarely has any outward symptoms, making regular check-ups important to detect the problem. In a few cases, hypertension may cause symptoms such as headaches, vertigo, and tinnitus.
High blood pressure is a medical condition that develops gradually, and most people are affected by it sooner or later. However, regular medical screenings can easily detect this problem, and there are many highly effective treatments for hypertension.
How Doctors Monitor High Blood Pressure
When you visit your physician’s office, the doctor or medical professionals at the facility can quickly and easily check your blood pressure. Hypertension monitoring is typically done by using a piece of medical equipment known as a sphygmomanometer.
A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff that collapses and releases an artery and a gauge to measure blood pressure. A stethoscope is used in conjunction with the sphygmomanometer to determine blood pressure.
When medical professionals check a patient’s blood pressure, they inflate the sphygmomanometer cuff around the patient’s arm, then release it. While the cuff deflates, medical professionals use a stethoscope placed at the brachial artery at the patient’s elbow to listen to blood flow, noting when a whooshing noise starts and when it ends. By noting the reading on the sphygmomanometer gauge when the sound begins and ends, medical professionals determine the systolic and diastolic readings.
Digital devices can also monitor patient blood pressure. These electronic devices also feature an inflatable cuff and sensors that monitor the systolic and diastolic pressure when the cuff is released.
recommend blood pressure screenings for adults at every visit they make to a health care provider and, at the very least, once every two years. Adults who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure will need more regular screenings.
Treatments for High Blood Pressure
Physicians have a number of options available to treat high blood pressure. Perhaps the most common and effective form of treatment is encouraging patients to make lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure. By eating a healthier diet and exercising, patients can reduce blood pressure and increase overall well-being.
Sometimes patients are unable to comply with doctors’ suggested lifestyle changes, or their condition does not respond to these changes.
Doctors also may prescribe medication to treat high blood pressure. Some commonly used medications for hypertension include:
- ACE Inhibitors – This medication prevents the human body from manufacturing a hormone known as angiotensin II. This hormone causes blood vessels to narrow, increasing blood pressure. Blocking production of the hormone results in lower blood pressure.
- Alpha blockers – Alpha blockers curtail nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten. Relaxing blood vessels results in a freer flow of blood, thus reducing the amount of work the heart must do to ensure adequate blood flow.
- Alpha-beta blockers – This medication combines the blood vessel-relaxing effect of alpha blockers with the heart-slowing effect of beta blockers.
- Beta blockers – Beta blockers slow the heart down, resulting in lower blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers – This medication prevents calcium from entering the heart and blood vessels, allowing the blood vessels to relax and, thus, reducing blood pressure.
- Diuretics – This commonly used treatment causes the kidneys to flush unneeded water and salt from the body, thus reducing the amount of fluid in the blood and causing blood pressure to fall.
- Nervous system inhibitors – Nervous system inhibitors cause the brain to send more nerve impulses directing the blood vessels to relax and expand, resulting in lower blood pressure.
- Vasodilators – This medication relaxes muscles in the blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure.
With monitoring and treatment, high blood pressure is an extremely treatable condition that does not have to lead to serious illness. Health care professionals monitoring blood pressure need
quality, reliable medical equipment to ensure they provide patients with the best care. Medical Device Depot is a trusted provider of medical equipment like sphygmomanometers used to monitor blood pressure. Medical Device Depot’s flexible payment terms, strong warranties, and competitive prices make it the choice of many clinics in hospitals for their equipment needs. To learn more, visit the company’s convenient, user-friendly website today.
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