Most doctors recommend the use of a blood pressure machine to check blood pressure. An individual may check heart rate with their fingers, but not blood pressure. Data shows checking blood pressure using fingers may not be accurate though there is an obscure method to correlate the pulse reading with systolic (upper) blood pressure. Blood pressure must be always measured using validated equipment.
Place the fingers on the inside of the wrist to locate the pulse. Now, take two fingers (preferably index and middle fingers) and place them just below the wrist creases on the thumb side of the hand. A strong pulse felt at the wrist correlates to the systolic blood pressure of at least 80 mmHg. This method is not always correct and hence not recommended.
It is important to use the correct technique to obtain an accurate measurement. Blood pressure is the force the blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves ahead and is an important indicator of health. The pulse will give the basic information required to estimate the systolic blood pressure (the upper number of blood pressure readings). Keep in mind this is a very rough estimate and only indicates if the systolic blood pressure is not low. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope. However, recent advances in technology have made budget-friendly automatic blood pressure monitors easily available in pharmacies.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which the constant force of the blood against blood walls or artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems. High blood pressure results from the tightening of narrow arteries called arterioles. Arterioles regulate blood flow throughout the body. When these arterioles tighten, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the smaller space and the pressure inside the vessels grows resulting in various heart diseases. Hypertension is known as "the silent killer" because many people do not even know they have the condition. If left untreated, high blood pressure greatly increases the risk for heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. The sign and symptoms of hypertension may include
- Asymptomatic (no symptoms)
- Severe headaches
- Pounding in chest, neck or ears
- Chest pain
- Vision problems
- Trouble sleeping
Apart from these common symptoms, a few rare symptoms are
Is hypotension dangerous?
To have low blood pressure is not always a concern. However, severe hypotension can cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness, blackouts or loss of consciousness, and may even be life-threatening in severe cases. Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition where the systolic and diastolic pressure falls below 90 and 60 mmHg, respectively. Normal blood pressure is 120 and 80 mmHg. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. Diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. Usually, low blood pressure is a sign of underlying or age-related medical conditions. It is necessary to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure in its initial stages. The symptoms of low blood pressure include
What type of food is recommended to control blood pressure?
According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, a person is considered to have high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80. A few common diet tips and foods that help control blood pressure are
- Olive oil is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols that have various health benefits, including the reduction of blood pressure. Cooking vegetables in olive oil also allows the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins K, A, D and E.
- Flaxseeds are a powerful superfood when it comes to reducing hypertension. They contain α-linolenic acid, which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that has been found to control blood pressure.
- Limiting salt in the diet is the best way to maintain kidney healthy. Keep daily salt consumption below 1,500 mg per day.
- Potassium-rich foods including spinach and bananas have been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure. Potassium helps the kidneys flush sodium out of the body. This can cause the blood pressure to decrease. Some other high-potassium foods are melons, oranges, apricots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tuna, salmon, beans, nuts, seeds, Swiss chard and white beans.
- Magnesium may help relax blood vessels, making it easier for blood to pass through. Foods rich in magnesium include vegetables, dairy, chicken, legumes and whole grains.