How To Measure Blood Pressure.
Blood pressure measurement is an important skill for health workers and also midwives. It is used to examine the following :
- People over the age of 40.
- Fat people.
- A person who might be in shock and also allergic shock.
- Pregnant women.
- Women taking birth control pills.
- Mothers during and before childbirth.
- Persons known to have high blood pressure.
- Anyone with signs of heart problems, stroke, chronic urinary problems, swollen or painful vein, diabetes, swelling, difficulty breathing, frequent headache.
STEPS TO MEASURE BLOOD PRESSURE
1. Make sure the person is relaxed : Recent exercise, anger or nervousness can make pressure rise and give a falsely high reading. Explain what you are going to do so that the person will not be surprised or frightened.
2. Fasten the pressure cuff : Make sure that you fasten the pressure cuff around the person’s bare upper arm.
3. Close the valve : Make sure that you close the valve on the rubber bulb by turning the screw clockwise.
4. Pump the pressure up : You will have to pump the pressure up to more than 200 millimeters of mercury.
5. Place the stethoscope : Be sure that you place the stethoscope over the front of the elbow.
6. Listen carefully for the pulse : At this stage you have to be extremely careful, make sure that you listen carefully for the pulse as you slowly let air out of the cuff. As the needle of the gauge which is the level of mercury drops, make sure you take two readings :
- Take the first reading the moment you begin to hear the soft thumping of the pulse. This happens when the pressure in the cuff drops to the highest pressure in the artery that is the systolic or top pressure. This top pressure is reached each time the heart contracts and forces the blood through the arteries. In a normal person; this top pressure reading is usually around 110 to 120 mm.
- Continue to slowly release the pressure while listening carefully. Take the second reading when the sound of the pulse begins to fade or disappear. This happens when the pressure in the cuff drops to the lowest pressure in the artery that is the diastolic or bottom pressure. This bottom pressure occurs when the heart relaxes between pulses. It is normally around 60 to 80 mm.
When you record a person’s blood pressure, always write both the top and bottom pressure readings. An adult’s normal blood pressure (BP) IS 120 over 80.
120/80, 120 is the top systolic reading while 80 is the bottom diastolic reading. For someone to understand his or her blood pressure, there is no need of using the words systolic or diastolic for the person in the hospital rather use “top and bottom” numbers (TN and BN).
It is usually the bottom number that tells us more about the person’s health. For instance, if a person’s blood pressure is 140/85, there is no much need for concern. But if the person’s blood pressure is 135/110, he has serious high blood pressure and should lose weight or get treatment. A bottom number of over 100 usually means the blood pressure is high enough to require attention, that is the person needs diets and perhaps medicine.
Normal blood pressure for an adult is usually around 120/80, but anything from 100/60 to 140/90 can be considered normal.
Now if a person regularly has low blood pressure, there is no need to worry. Blood pressure on low side of normal, that is 90/60 to 110/70 means a the person is likely to live long and is less likely to suffer from heart problems or stroke.
When there is a sudden drop in the blood pressure,is a serious danger sign especially if it falls below 60/40. Health personnel should watch for any sudden drop in the blood pressure of a persons who are losing blood or at risk of shock