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What Is a Blood Pressure Monitor?

Yehudah Posnick

A blood pressure monitor is a device used to measure blood pressure, composed of an inflatable cuff to collapse and then release the artery under the cuff in a controlled manner, and a mercury or aneroid manometer to measure the pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. It's lowest when you're asleep. It begins to rise a few minutes after you wake up and continues to increase during the day. Several things may affect your blood pressure, including physical activity, emotions, weather, medications, and what you ate or drank.

Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is your diastolic pressure.

Usually, blood pressure is written as systolic over diastolic and is given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). For example, a reading of 120/80 mm Hg means a systolic pressure of 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg.

Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or above, you have high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

There are two types of blood pressure monitors: digital and manual.

Digital blood pressure monitors are easy to use. They have a cuff that goes around your arm and a digital display that shows your blood pressure.

Manual blood pressure monitors have a cuff that goes around your arm and a mercury or aneroid manometer. The mercury or aneroid manometer is a device that measures the pressure in the cuff.

You can buy a blood pressure monitor at a pharmacy, drug store, or online.