What are blood pressure monitors? What are their types? How do they work? In this article, we are going to provide you with all the information you need to know about these gadgets so as to know what to do and what not to do before buying and using them.

The instrument that is used to measure blood pressure is scientifically called a barometer. That is, it measures the pressure that blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels. It determines the amount of blood the heart pumps and the resistance of the arteries.

Types of blood pressure monitors

There are two main types of blood pressure monitors:

Manual blood pressure monitors

These devices have a cuff that is wrapped around the arm, a rubber pressure ball, a sphygmomanometer, a screen, and a stethoscope that is used to listen for the sound of blood flowing through the artery.

The blood pressure device screen has a needle that moves on a circular disk to indicate that the pressure in the cuff is rising or falling.

When used correctly, these devices are very accurate. But it is not recommended that the patients should not use them at home because of the difficulty of using them.

Digital blood pressure monitors

These digital devices also have a cuff that is wrapped around the arm. To inflate it, you may either need to use a rubber pressure ball or let it inflate automatically when you press the button. That depends on the type of device you have.

When the cuff is inflated to the maximum, the pressure will slowly and automatically decrease, and the screen will digitally display your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. Then, the cuff will deflate by itself.

This type of blood pressure instrument is affected by the position and movement of the body. Plus,  the irregular heart rate makes reading the pressure less accurate. Yet, most people prefer this device because it is easy to use.

How do blood pressure monitors work?

At this time, the need to daily monitor our health at home has increased. Thus, using devices to measure blood pressure levels has become a necessity. This is very important because uncontrolled high blood pressure for a long period of time may cause cardiovascular disease.

. In addition, blood pressure devices are necessary to monitor the action of medications and their effectiveness in controlling high pressure.

The manometer works by inflating the cuff wrapped around the arm until it temporarily cuts off blood flow through the brachial artery. Then, it slowly deflates the cuff and that leads to relieving the pressure on the arm.

Inside the cuff, there is a blood flow sensor that shows the point at which blood begins to flow intermittently through the artery. That is the systolic blood pressure which is indicated by the number that appears at the top of the device’s screen. When the blood flow shifts from intermittent to continuous, that is the beginning of the diastolic blood pressure. It is indicated by the number that appears at the bottom of the device’s screen.

In addition to reading your blood pressure, barometers calculate your heartbeat rate.

Tips for using blood pressure monitors

Here are some tips to ensure the correct use of blood pressure monitors:

Avoid everything that affects the appropriate measurement of blood pressure.

Do not smoke or drink any caffeinated beverages. Also, do not exercise 30 minutes before your blood pressure measurement. Empty your bladder, and make sure you are completely comfortable for at least 5 minutes before the measurement.

sit properly

Sit right, and keep your back resting on a chair, not a sofa. Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t cross your legs over each other. Also, your arm should rest on a flat surface, such as a table, with the upper part of your arm at your heart level.

When putting the cuff on your arm, make sure that the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the elbow joint.

Measure your blood pressure every day at the same time 

You should measure your pressure at the same time each day. For example, you can measure your blood pressure daily every morning and afternoon. Also, you should take a look at your blood pressure every morning and evening, for instance, preferably two weeks after any change in treatment, and during the week prior to your next appointment with your doctor.

Take multiple measurements and record the results

For more accurate results, take a look at your blood pressure levels two or three times and one minute between each measurement and the other one. Please, don’t forget to record the results somewhere you can refer to afterwards.

Some types of blood pressure monitors have a built-in memory that stores your results and displays them on the screen whenever you need them or want to show them to your doctor.

Don’t take the measurements while you are wearing clothes

Put the blood pressure cuff directly on your arm without any clothes. Either roll up your sleeves or wear short-sleeved shirts, as clothes can add up to 50 mmHg to results, depending on their thickness.

Use a cuff of an appropriate size

Using a cuff that is too small or too big can affect the final results of the measurements. In addition, using cuffs of small sizes may add 2-10 mmHg to blood pressure results.

Keep quiet and don’t talk

During the blood pressure measurement, avoid talking and remain silent. It has been noticed that even interactive listening can add 10 mmHg to the pressure reading.


Finally, we hope you have benefited from this article and formed a clear idea about blood pressure monitors, how to buy them as well as how and when to use them  We have made a great effort looking for the information that you may be expecting. But if you think that we have missed anything, just write it down in the comments area below and we will try to provide you with the needed information.

Thanks a lot for your reading.

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