Blood Pressure Cuffs

Blood Pressure Cuffs
Blood Pressure Cuffs

Monitoring blood pressure, especially for people prone to hypertension, is essential. Taking your blood pressure at home will help medical professionals better understand your health and track your treatment.

What are Blood Pressure Cuffs

A blood pressure cuff or sphygmomanometer is an apparatus that monitors a person's blood pressure. It consists of an inflatable cuff that you wrap around your arm or wrist and a monitoring device that measures your blood pressure.

How do they work?

Blood pressure cuffs measure your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure measures the force of blood as it moves through the arteries to the rest of the body. The bottom figure, diastolic blood pressure, measures the force your heart produces on the walls of your arteries between beats.

When the cuff reaches your systolic and diastolic pressures, it creates vibrations detected by the meter. It is also audible with the stethoscope.

Manual vs. Automatic Blood Pressure Cuffs

Manual Blood Pressure Cuff
When using a manual blood pressure cuff, you inflate the cuff around your arm with a squeeze bulb and read the gauge to measure your blood pressure by listening for the vibration using a stethoscope.

Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff
If you're using an automatic blood pressure cuff, the machine inflates the cuff for you. As soon as the device measures the systolic and diastolic pressure, the cuff starts to deflate. Compared to the manual blood pressure cuffs, automatic ones are easier to use and read. Some even print the results of the readings and store the numbers to review them with your doctor.

Types of Blood Pressure Cuffs

Arm Monitors

Arm monitors have cuffs that wrap around the arm, preferably at the level of the heart. This allows for a better approximation of the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

They come in different sizes — small, medium, and large — to fit patients of any size. You may have to manually or automatically inflate the blood pressure cuff and obtain the readings.

Wrist Monitors

Wrist monitors work the same way as the arm monitors and also have manual and automatic varieties. However, it is more difficult to obtain accurate readings using this device as the arteries in the wrist are too far from the heart. What's more, wrist blood pressure is extremely sensitive to body position.

Having accurate readings is still possible if used as directed. They're also useful if the normal-sized blood pressure cuffs are too small for your upper arms.

The size of the cuff is essential for both an arm or wrist unit. Cuffs come in pediatric, adult, and x-large sizes. Choosing the right one for your needs will ensure a more accurate reading.

Thigh Monitors

Thigh monitors are for patients when an arm cuff is not feasible. They have bigger cuff sizes and will measure the systolic and diastolic pressure through the largest artery of the thigh.

Be an active part of your health care team by regularly measuring your blood pressure. Choose the correct cuff type, follow the proper procedure, and communicate with your health care professional.