29 August 2008

How to use a blood pressure monitor

How to use a blood pressure monitor.

Following the success of this measure blood pressure video we are pleased to offer another excellent clip.

Quick easy and accurate. For further information about blood pressure and where you can get your blood pressure measured during the blood pressure testing week on the lower blood pressure blog

19 August 2008

Stethoscopes and Measuring Blood Pressure

Leading medical professionals continually argue which method of taking blood pressure is "best". The standard image of the hospital Doctor wearing a stethoscope around his neck often comes to mind but there are other methods of taking blood pressure readings than the traditional ones that don't rely manually listening to the pulse during testing

Not so long ago the consensus was that wrist monitors were not satisfactorily accurate nor consistent - however with improved technologies such as Advanced Positioning which assists users to maintain the correct level to the heart their reliability is becoming acknowledged.

For many years the British Hypertension Society and Blood Pressure Organisation have promoted automatic upper arm machines. These digital monitors automatically inflate and deflate the cuff and have built in sensors to take the readings when the pulse stops and restarts. The sensors are considered to be much more accurate than the human hearing through a stethoscope.

Many medical schools still insist that students train to take blood pressure with traditional aneroid equipment that includes a cuff, an attached pump, a stethoscope and a gauge which stands them in good stead for their careers - see this video using a stethoscope

Posts on the student doctors' forum show the preference for Littmann Stethoscopes - in particular the added value of the Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope which is highly sensitive and only the users impaired hearing would render this unsuitable for measuring blood pressure in the "old fashioned" way.

As one commenter said - "why risk a $200,000 education by saving $20? Cutting Corners when buying a stethoscope is a big mistake."

Often the schools have close relationships with the local suppliers where student go to get their stethoscopes when starting their course. It can be a daunting task choosing a new stethoscope but with some research suitable models can be found online and even price comparison sites now have feeds from many leading medical supply stores - alternatively try specialist shops such as Medisave in the UK or Medisave USA

01 August 2008

Preventing Dementia with Blood Pressure Treatment

Recent news has raised expectations that a side effect of taking some blood pressure medicines is that certain drugs have been identified as helping to prevent dementia - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7492959.stm

Research has found a definite link between high blood pressure and dementia. A study published in Lancet Neurology journal by an Imperial College medical research team suggests that treatment for high blood pressure will reduce this by 15%.

Controlling blood pressure from middle-age onwards may dramatically reduce the chances of developing dementia, researchers have said.

Two studies support a link between high blood pressure and dementia risk - with one by an Imperial College London team suggesting treatment could cut this.

In the UK at least one in three people aged over 55 has high blood pressure that remains undiagnosed or untreated. the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured with a blood pressure monitor

Of course it is crucial that efforts to detect and treat high blood pressure to reduce stroke and heart disease are increased, even without the additional results on dementia.

Recent announcements that one of the jobs UK doctors least enjoy - taking blood pressure - can now be done by patients themselves with pants that measure blood pressure and using mobile broadband technology should mean more and more people maintaining a healthy lifestyle and knowing their blood pressure readings.

The trial was stopped early after the benefits of treatment in terms of reducing strokes and heart disease were so obvious it became unethical to deny them to everyone.

Although this meant that no benefits in terms of dementia could be found, when these results were combined with other similar studies in different age groups, the incidence of dementia was 13% lower in the treated groups.

The precise reasons why high blood pressure might increase the risk of dementia are not fully understood. Many medical professionals believe that it can starve the brain of oxygen which is carried by the blood flow to the brain.

Those with restricted blood flow are often described as having "vascular dementia", and account for around 25% of dementia patients.

Other types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, have no obvious link to blood flow, but some experts think that blood pressure may still be somehow contributory in some cases.

The Lancet Neurology study looked at a trial of elderly patients with high blood pressure to see if those who were receiving treatment were less likely to develop any form of dementia compared with those left untreated.