Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomeMust ReadHow Does A Blood Pressure Machine Work

How Does A Blood Pressure Machine Work

When To See A Doctor About Your Blood Pressure

How does an AUTOMATIC blood pressure machine work?

Wireless blood pressure monitors that allow you to share your data can give your doctor a more accurate picture of your condition.

“A blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg is ideal,” says Spatz. But your doctor will discuss what an appropriate number for you is.

If you get a single reading higher or lower than that number, don’t be alarmed. Take additional readings using the guidelines above.

If your measurements suddenly spike above 180/120 mm Hg, the AHA recommends waiting five minutes and testing again. If your blood pressure is still exceedingly high, contact your doctor immediately.

If your blood pressure remains higher than 180/20 mm Hg and you’re experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath or a change in vision, call 911.

If your blood pressure is lower than normal and you’re experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or anything else out of the ordinary, contact your doctor.

“While monitoring blood pressure at home can be done independently with some simple guidelines about what is normal, it is still important to have a trusted doctor or nurse available to help to interpret the readings,” says Spatz. “Blood pressure varies tremendously throughout the day, and there may be spikes or dips in the blood pressure which may or may not be clinically meaningful.”

Which One Is More Accurate: Manual Or Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Digital non-portable automatic inflation for the upper arm
  • Digital portable automatic inflation for the upper arm, wrist, or finger

Monitors with the automatic arm cuff are more accurate than the manual, wrist, and finger monitors.

When you purchase a monitor with an inflatable upper arm cuff, you must make sure the cuff is the right size. Otherwise, you will receive inaccurate numbers. If you are in a store, try on the cuffs of different monitors to see which one fits the best. Also, go to the store to try on different size cuffs to see which one fits the best before you make an online purchase.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to buy the most accurate BP monitor. Many of the best at-home monitors are less than $100. One of the best overall monitors is the Omron Platinum Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor. The current price of this device is about $80. Its clinical accuracy is validated by the American Heart Association. The Omron Platinum is a wireless device that can accommodate multiple users and store up to 100 readings per person.

Another monitor that ranks as one of the best overall monitors is the Withings BPM Connect. The current price of the Withings BPM Connect is just under $100, and it is FDA-cleared for its medical accuracy. This Wi-Fi Bluetooth-enabled device offers unlimited data storage, and you can share your results with your doctor through the Health Mate app.

Basic Physiology Of Blood Pressure

The ventricles of the heart fill with blood during diastole, the first phase of the cardiac cycle. Oxygenated blood returning from the lungs enters the left ventricle as it relaxes during this phase.

The amount of blood in the left ventricle at the end of diastole is known as the left ventricular end diastolic volume. The right ventricle also has an end diastolic volume, but its the end diastolic volume of the left ventricle thats significant in the measurement of blood pressure.

Diastole is followed by systole, the phase in which the ventricles contract. During this part of the cycle, the left ventricle discharges a portion of the end diastolic volume into the aorta.

This amount is known as the stroke volume, and is ejected from the ventricle at a pressure thats reliant on several variables, including the end diastolic volume itself and the amount of force the heart muscle is able to generate.

Once in the aorta, the blood begins its journey through the arterial system toward the tissues. The force the blood exerts on the inside of the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure, and is dependent upon the following three factors:

  • Volume of blood in the arterial system
  • Peripheral vascular resistance, which is determined by blood vessel diameter, viscosity of the blood, and length of the vessel and
  • Cardiac output, which is a function of heart rate x stroke volume.
  • Don’t Miss: Low To Lower Blood Pressure

    How Do Blood Pressure Monitors Really Work

    31 January 2020- Blood pressure monitors are common on both hospital wards and in outpatient areas. They are in use every day, yet many people still do not know the technique behind them. It is high time that we learn how these blood pressure measuring devices actually work.

    It is not very difficult to measure a persons blood pressure. The classic method, which can be traced back to Italian physician Scipione Riva-Roccis auscultatory technique, requires only a stethoscope and an arm cuff hooked up to a manometer.

    The arm cuff is pumped full of air, cutting off the circulation in the brachial artery, and the pressure is then released gradually. If it drops below the systolic blood pressure level, the blood flow through the artery will return. However, the blood flow will be turbulent for as long as the artery remains partially compressed. This results in a muffled, pulsating noise phenomenon known as Korotkoff sounds, which can be counted by placing a stethoscope on the brachial artery or by integrating a microphone into the measurement cuff. Systolic blood pressure readings can be taken from the manometer as soon as they occur. The Korotkoff sounds disappear as soon as compression of the artery is released completely and the blood can flow again smoothly. The cuff pressure as measured at this point corresponds to the diastolic blood pressure.

    How Do I Assemble And Apply The D

    Blood pressure

    When the cuff is assembled correctly, the hook material will be on the outside of the cuff loop and the metal d-ring will not touch your skin. If the cuff is not assembled, pass the end of the cuff furthest from the tubing through the metal d-ring to form a loop. The smooth cloth should be on the inside of the cuff loop.

  • Remove tight fitting clothing from your upper arm.
  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your left arm on a table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart. Turn the palm of your hand upward.
  • Put your left arm through the cuff loop. the bottom of the cuff should be approximately ½ inch above the elbow. The cuff tab should lie over the brachial artery on the inside of the arm. The cuff tube should run down the center of the arm even with the middle finger.
  • Secure the cuff around your arm using the cloth closure. Pull the cuff so that the top and bottom edges are tightened evenly around your arm.
  • Make sure the cuff is wrapped firmly in place. You should be able to fit your index finger between the cuff and your arm easily.
  • Relax your arm and place your elbow on the table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
  • Be sure there are no kinks in the air tubing.
  • Read Also: Claritin And Blood Pressure

    Blood Pressure Monitors For Home

    Your health care provider may ask you to keep track of your blood pressure at home. To do this, you will need to get a home blood pressure monitor. The monitor you choose should be of good quality and fit well.


    • Manual devices include a cuff that wraps around your arm, a rubber squeeze bulb, and a gauge that measures the blood pressure. A stethoscope is needed to listen to the blood pulsing through the artery.
    • You can see your blood pressure on the circular dial of the gauge as the needle moves around and the pressure in the cuff rises or falls.
    • When used correctly, manual devices are very accurate. However, they are not the recommended type of blood pressure monitor for home use.


    • A digital device will also have a cuff that wraps around your arm. To inflate the cuff, you may need to use a rubber squeeze ball. Other kinds will inflate automatically when you push a button.
    • After the cuff is inflated, the pressure will slowly drop on its own. The screen will show a digital readout of your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
    • After showing your blood pressure, the cuff will deflate on its own. With some machines, you must wait for 2 to 3 minutes before using it again.
    • A digital blood pressure monitor will not be as accurate if your body is moving when you are using it. Also, an irregular heart rate will make the reading less accurate. However, digital monitors are the best choice for home use for most people.

    The Battery Charge Indicator Indicates A Low Charge

    The battery charge indicator should be located on the monitors display when it is turned on 2. Its typically located somewhere near the top of the display and looks like the shape of a battery. It should have approximately four or five colored or shaded bars.

    When the batteries are fully charged, the indicator will have all the shaded bars displayed. As the batteries lose their charge, the shaded bars will disappear one by one. Depending on your monitor, you will receive a low battery alert. Some possible alerts are the following:

    • BAT-LOW message
    • The indicator changes color

    The monitor in the photo above is my personal home blood pressure monitor. Its the fastest home BP monitor and the most accurate under arm movement. Find out how fast in my detailed review in my blog post, Welch Allyn Home 1700 Series Blood Pressure Monitor Review.

    Also Check: Blood Pressure Side Effects

    How Accurate Are Drugstore Blood Pressure Machines

    Image: Bigstock

    Q. My doctor recommended I routinely check my blood pressure between office visits. Are pharmacy blood pressure machines accurate?

    A. If you are able to obtain an electronic home blood pressure monitor, this is a better option than a store-based machine. There are number of concerns about the accuracy of these machines, which are located in pharmacies or grocery stores.

    The first is their one-size-fits-all approach. One of the most important factors in obtaining an accurate blood pressure reading is proper cuff size. There are three common cuff sizes ranging from 22 centimeters to 44 cm. An improper cuff size can lower or raise the blood pressure reading.

    Another issue relates to the maintenance of these machines. Currently, there are no requirements to test their accuracy. Previous studies have suggested the machines become less reliable after a few years.

    Also keep in mind that blood pressure should be measured after you have sat quietly for about five minutes, with your arm resting at heart level on a table or armrest. This is often not the case when you rush through a grocery store.

    Your best bet is to invest in an electronic home blood pressure machine, which often costs about $40 to $60. Make sure to buy a machine with an arm cuff, which is more accurate than a wrist cuff. Bring your machine to your doctor’s office to compare its reading to their measurement.

    William Kormos, MD

    How We Test Blood Pressure Monitor

    How does a bloodpressure monitor work?

    To find the best blood pressure monitors on the market, we sourced more than a dozen of the hottest blood pressure monitors, covering manual blood pressure monitors, wrist blood pressure monitors, and upper arm blood pressure monitors.

    In our lab, our product testing team recruited 6 volunteers to conduct 10 hours of product testing on more than a dozen blood pressure monitors. Each device took four readings of each testers left upper arm, two in the morning and two in the afternoon.

    During the test, two medical experts invited by us have been conducting on-site guidance to ensure that each tester strictly follows the correct operation method to monitor blood pressure so as to obtain correct monitoring readings.

    Our editorial team conducted a comprehensive evaluation and test of the blood pressure monitor reading accuracy, cuff size and comfort, data identification difficulty, data storage method, device operation difficulty and additional functions, then submit the test report to our editorial team whom edits the summary and completes this blood pressure monitor buying guide, and submits it to medical experts for review and revision before publishing.

    Don’t Miss: Can High Blood Pressure Cause Nerve Damage

    What Is The Difference Between A Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor And An Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor

    Wrist bp monitors measure your blood pressure by wrapping a cuff around your wrist. Upper arm bp monitors measure your blood pressure by wrapping a cuff around your upper arm and tightening it. The American Heart Association recommends an upper arm blood pressure monitor, and they believe upper arm bp monitor provides a more accurate reading than a wrist bp monitor.

    What Can I Do To Help Better Manage My Blood Pressure

    Managing your blood pressure doesnt have to take a lot of work. In fact, small improvements to your lifestyle can help.

    • Exercise: Just be a little more active. Walk instead of drive take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
    • Eat Smart: Try to find low-fat, low-sodium substituted that also taste great. Potassium found in bananas and carrots is natures best medicine for your heart.
    • Kick the Habits: Minimize your alcohol and cigarette intake.
    • Stifle Your Stress: Stress is a normal part of life. But too much can increase the risk of heart disease. Relax by doing things you enjoy and your heart can benefit.
    • Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home: Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis provides you and your doctor with the information to best manage your blood pressure.

    These are just some examples. Discuss with your doctor on other ways how you can better your heart.

    Don’t Miss: Bp And Headaches

    Testing Your Blood Pressure At Home

    Your GP may suggest 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring if they think you may have high blood pressure .

    ABPM tests your blood pressure regularly over 24 hours, by using a cuff attached to a portable device that’s worn on your waist.

    You can continue with your daily activities during this time.

    If you want to regularly check your blood pressure at home, you can buy a machine.

    What Are The Different Styles Of Cuffs

    How Do Blood Pressure Monitors Work?  Livongo Tech Blog
    • D-Ring Cuff: A d-ring cuff is a standard type of blood pressure cuff that you would usually see in your doctors office. It is a cuff where the user loops one end of the cuff through a metal ring, then fastens it to the arm. D-ring cuffs come in different sizes of small, standard and large. It is important to pick out the right size cuff based on your individual arm circumference. Please see the questions in this Omron FAQ regarding the different types of cuffs and how to measure your arm circumference.
    • Expandable Cuff: The Omron ComFit Cuff is a pre-formed upper arm cuff that expands to fit both regular and large sized arms . It is designed to ensure more comfortable, accurate readings.
    • Wrist Cuff: A wrist cuff is similar to an upper arm cuff however you can wrap it around your wrist instead of your upper arm.

    Also Check: Mayo High Blood Pressure

    Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading

    Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:

    • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
    • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

    The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.

    As a general guide:

    • normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
    • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
    • low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

    If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.

    How To Use An Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor At Home

  • Sit down. Take off any clothing of your upper arms, or roll up your sleeves. Put your feet on the floor without crossing, and rest your forearm comfortably on a table at heart level.
  • Apply the cuff. If using an upper arm cuff, the lower edge should be approximately 1 inch above the elbow socket. It should feel comfortable without being tight. If using a wrist bp monitor, please around the wrist.
  • Power up and turn on the blood pressure monitor. You should see all display symbols flash on the screen, then display zero. The zero means the monitor is ready to monitor blood pressure.
  • Inflate the cuff and get your reading. Please press the start button to inflate the cuff, then observe and take notes of the pressure reading on the display after it finishes measuring.
  • Take a second reading. After completing the first blood pressure measurement, release the pressure of the cuff completely, relax and rest for 1-3 minutes before starting the second blood pressure measurement.
  • Remove cuff. After completing the second blood pressure measurement, compare the two readings to see if there is a large difference, if the difference is not significant, release the pressure of the cuff completely and remove the cuff.
  • Recommended Reading: What Causes Blood Pressure

    Why Is My Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Giving High Readings

    The most common cause of high readings when using a wrist blood pressure monitor is because the user does not have the wrist monitor at heart level. When using a wrist monitor, pleas ensure the device is at heart level when taking a reading. Also note that there may be actual differences between your blood pressure at the upper arm site and the wrist site.

    Why We Recommend This Omron Blood Pressure Monitor

    how does the blood pressure machine work

    Although a very small number of people report that the monitoring data is inaccurate, the advantages of this blood pressure monitor are obvious from a comprehensive comparison. Inaccurate monitoring data is a common problem of digital blood pressure monitor, because few manufacturers can guarantee 100% fault-free products. No defects, faulty products or defective products always have a very low probability.

    Read Also: Does Claritin Affect Blood Pressure


    Popular Articles