Blood pressure is the pressure which is exerted by flowing blood on the walls of the arteries. It ranges between to values: the highest one – systolic pressure, and the lowest one – diastolic pressure. Those values are closely associated with phases of cardiac function. During the ejection of blood from the left ventricle, the pressure is maximal, and between subsequent blood ejections the value is minimal. Blood pressure is an easy-to-measure indicator of the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. Normal blood pressure is less than 135/85 mm Hg.
How to correctly measure blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in quiet, warm room. Before the measurement is take, the person should rest for several minutes in a sitting or lying position. Two measurements at a one minute interval are recommended, to see if both results are similar. If it is so, they may be accepted as reliable. The arm on which we take the measurement must be positioned at the level of the heart. The hand should rest on a support and muscles should be relaxed. A correctly selected cuff is wrapped around the arm, so that the lower edge of the cuff is approx. 3 cm above the elbow. Do not talk or cross your legs during the measurement. The feet must rest flat on the floor.
Factors affecting the result of measurement
Numerous factors may affect the result of a blood pressure measurement, including stress, pain, alcohol, fever, time of day, used drugs and coexisting diseases. The measurement should not be taken directly after a meal, physical exercise or smoking.
Why is testing the arterial blood pressure so important?
Regular testing of the blood pressure allows the early diagnosis of hypertension, as well as an assessment of the effects of therapy of the condition. It also provides the possibility to assess the total cardiovascular risk.