Blood Pressure

How to measure BP: The Correct Way

BP measured at home and clinics of doctors vary with the time of day or night, physical activity and methods of measuring. To reach a diagnosis of hypertension, various precautions are required. The following should be kept in mind while measuring BP.

Methods used for Measuring BP.

  1. Mercury sphygmomanometers: Traditional and accurate. Requires correct training. Now not used due to a ban on the use of mercury due to environmental pollution.
  2. Aneroid sphygmomanometers: The cuff may be inflated manually. With a stethoscope, sounds are heard over the brachial artery.
  3. Automated oscillometric BP measurement: The most popular method nowadays. It has a battery operated system for inflating the cuff. The cuff deflates on its own and BP is displayed digitally.
  4. Ambulatory BP monitoring(ABPM): Measures Blood Pressure every 15 mins in the day and every 30 to 60 mins at night. The readings can be recorded and later displayed digitally via a computer.
ABPM is the best and close to the ideal way of measuring BP. Not used often as the instrument is not widely available, is costly and not many people including health personnel are aware of it. An average ABPM recording is usually lower than other methods of measurement and hypertension is diagnosed when average readings are > 135/85 mm Hg.

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