High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a chronic medical condition in which the pressure of blood in the arteries gets elevated. When your heart beats, it pumps blood into your body to provide the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood flows, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels; this pressure is known as blood pressure. If your blood pressure is higher than normal, it puts an extra burden on your arteries (and your heart), which may lead to heart attack and stroke.
How to Measure Your Blood Pressure?
A sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter) is a medical instrument used by Health Care Professionals (HCPs) to measure your blood pressure. A sphygmomanometer consists of:
- An inflatable cuff to restrict blood flow is placed on your upper arm. It provides a measure of the pressure in the brachial artery, the main artery in the upper arm.
- A mercury or mechanical manometer to measure the pressure. It measures blood pressure in two numbers:
1. Upper number:
- This number measures the pressure when your heart beats. It is known as Systolic blood pressure (SBP).
2. Lower Number:
- This number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats. It is known as Diastolic blood pressure (DBP).
- In the case of a manual sphygmomanometer- a stethoscope is used to determine the pressure of blood flow.
According to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) (JNC 7), blood pressure falls into four categories for adults who are 18 years and older: