Blood Pressure Monitor Vs Blood Pressure Cuff
Blood pressure monitor and blood pressure cuff are two phrases often used to describe the same blood pressure measurement tool. The blood pressure cuff is the element that wraps around either the upper arm, wrist or finger to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor is the element in charge of inflating and deflating the cuff, as well as providing your blood pressure reading on an easy-to-read display.
Most experts recommend using a blood pressure monitor with an upper arm blood pressure cuff for at-home readings because they tend to be more accurate than wrist cuffs and finger cuffs.
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls. The pressure within our arteries changes with every heartbeat, says Ian Del Conde Pozzi, M.D., a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart contracts, it pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, increasing the pressure. That increase is measured by systolic blood pressure.
Are Blood Sugar And Blood Pressure Related
Diabetes and high blood pressure commonly co-exist. In fact, a person with diabetes is twice as likely to have high blood pressure as someone who is diabetes free. Similarly, patients with high blood pressure are more resistant to insulin-stimulated glucose uptake than matched control groups with normal blood pressure.
Do these two medical conditions simply share common risk factors? Or is there a deeper relationship between blood pressure and blood sugar?
Blood Sugar Basics
When people eat foods, primarily carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks food down into sugar, which enters the blood. Blood sugar, or glucose, is the primary energy source for all cells in your body. Multiple hormones are in charge of regulating blood sugar levels on a regular basis. If blood sugar falls too low, known as hypoglycemia, the body will produce gluco-counter-regulatory hormones, including catecholamines.
These hormones, such as epinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone, and glucagon, act through different mechanisms to increase blood sugar levels. On the other hand, if blood sugar rises too high, referred to as hyperglycemia, the body produces insulin. This hormone drives sugar out of the bloodstream into the muscle, fat, and liver cells, ultimately decreasing blood sugar.
Blood Pressure Basics
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Tips To Avoid Low Blood Sugar
If you dont have diabetes, taking certain actions can help to avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat regular meals and dont skipping meals
- Ensure that your meals are balanced in terms of fat, protein, and fiber content
- Dont exercise close to bedtime
- Avoid alcohol late at night
- Dont travel to locations at high altitude
If you take insulin or other medication to lower your blood sugar, these actions may help to prevent you from having low blood sugar:
- Ask your provider about using a continuous glucose monitor
- Ensure that you are eating enough carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar in the ideal range, especially when taking insulin
- Eat a small snack before engaging in physical activity
- Review your current medications with your provider
After You Have Low Blood Sugar
If your low blood sugar was mild , you can return to your normal activities once your blood sugar is back in its target range.
After you have low blood sugar, your early symptoms for low blood sugar are less noticeable for 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to check your blood sugar more often to keep it from getting too low again, especially before eating, physical activity, or driving a car.
If you used glucagon because of a severe low , immediately call your doctor for emergency medical treatment. If you have had lows several times close together , you should also tell you doctor. They may want to change your diabetes plan.
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More Than Blood Pressure
The new guidelines have other changes, too. First, they don’t offer different recommendations for people younger or older than age 65. “This is because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didn’t break down groups above or below a certain age,” says Dr. Conlin.
The guidelines also redefined the various categories of hypertension. It eliminated the category of prehypertension, which had been defined as systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Instead, people with those readings are now categorized as having either elevated pressure or Stage 1 hypertension .
A reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered Stage 2 hypertension, and anything higher than 180/120 mm Hg is hypertensive crisis.
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How Your Body Regulates Blood Pressure
A similar set of processes apply to maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. In many ways, keeping your blood pressure in a good range is even more critical than keeping your blood glucose in a good range. Your body has a myriad of ways to make more blood sugar as well as making alternative sources of energy like ketones. But we dont have any way to make more blood pressure. The body can protect blood glucose levels much better than it can protect blood pressure. If we are experiencinglow blood volume, we cant add more instantly. If we dont have enough blood, we will pass out and this is very dangerous to the brain and body long term.
With limited options for raising blood pressure, the body relies on the same hormones that get activated when blood glucose is lowcatecholamine, or adrenalin, hormonesto affect this change. Catecholamines tighten up our blood vessels, making it harder for the heart to pump the blood through our arteries, which raises blood pressure.
People with, a condition in which blood pressure is elevated, dont lack the ability to control their blood pressure. But like the person with diabetes, their sensors are impaired and their response to high or low blood pressure isnt always on the mark.
If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
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How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
Normal Blood Pressure By Age Race And Gender
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
The reason for this variance can range from substandard insurance coverage and poor access to healthcare to gaps in the use of medications to treat multiple conditions with reduced compliance in certain groups, he adds.
As for gender, theres increasing evidence for risk of cardiovascular disease in women with blood pressures lower than what is considered normal, says Jennifer Wong, M.D., medical director of non-invasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
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Other Side Effects Of Low Blood Sugar
When you eat, your body breaks down your food, some of which becomes glucose or blood sugar. Your body will take most of this glucose and use it to fuel your cells, but it also sends some of the excess glucose to your liver, which stores it for later use. Meanwhile, your pancreas produces insulin to control the sugar levels in your blood so that they donât rise too high. Insulin helps your body process sugars.
If you havenât eaten in a long time, your body will release hormones from your pancreas to tell your liver to release the glucose that it has stored back into your bloodstream. Your body will then use that glucose to regulate the energy your cells need until the next time you eat.
When your blood glucose levels dip too low, your cells donât have enough energy to useâthis is hypoglycemia. Your body produces insulin to prevent your blood sugars from rising too quickly. Still, sometimes it makes too much, which can cause it all to dip dangerously instead. Knowing what to watch for and how to treat low blood sugar can help keep you healthy and safe.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
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What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
Diabetes And High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is twice as likely to strike a person with diabetes than a person without diabetes. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. In fact, a person with diabetes and high blood pressure is four times as likely to develop heart disease than someone who does not have either of the conditions. About two-thirds of adults with diabetes have blood pressure greater than 130/80 mm Hg or use prescription medications for hypertension.
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What Is Low Blood Pressure
While hypertension can be problematic for your overall health, blood pressure thats too low can also be cause for concern. With that said, the American Heart Association doesnt recognize a specific day-to-day blood pressure reading as too low. Instead, its a matter of what symptoms you may be experiencing due to low blood pressure, how these symptoms affect you and how long they persist.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:
- Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
- Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
- Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinsons disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
- Massive weight loss
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Your Blood Pressure Test
Your doctor or nurse uses a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure. Theyll put a cuff around your arm and inflate it. This restricts the blood flow for a few seconds. This can feel uncomfortable but isnt painful. The cuff then deflates, the monitor takes a reading and your doctor or nurse will take the cuff off.
You should get this test at least once a year. Its usually part of your annual review and is one of your essential diabetes health checks.
If you want to, you can buy a blood pressure monitor yourself to use at home. You can get this from a chemist or pharmacy, or order one from our shop. You dont have to do this, but some people find it helps them manage their diabetes better. In some areas, diabetes care teams have suggested people buy their own home blood pressure monitoring kit, during the coronavirus pandemic while access to routine care is disrupted. You can find a list of blood pressure monitors to use at home from the British and Irish Hypertension Society website.
We know that wont be possible for everyone, and we dont think people should have to pay for these devices. Were calling on the NHS to find other ways to make these available for free.
Its fine to use a monitor yourself, but speak to your healthcare team first to make sure youre using it right. Make a note of your readings and speak to your doctor or nurse if youre ever worried.
When To See A Medical Provider
If you have a family history of high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider about blood pressure screening and how often to do this.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, speak with your medical provider about how to avoid low blood sugar. Also know the signs of severely high blood pressure and severely low blood sugar, both of which warrant immediate medical attention.
Signs of severely low blood sugar include:
- Extreme weakness
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Using The Blood Pressure Chart
The Blood Pressure Chart can be a great aid in gaining control over your blood pressure, and ultimately your health.
Medicine, herbal remedies, caffeine, exercise, diet and many other things can affect your blood pressure. Make sure to track these things in the notes next to your blood pressure entries. This may help you see what kind of affect they have.
How Blood Sugar Affects Blood Pressure
How are these two systems connected? Insulin, which plays a role in managing blood glucose, has an unfortunate relationship with nitric oxide production in blood vessels. It blocks the ability of the body to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important to blood vessels because it is one of the very few ways to expand the size of the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. If a person with diabetes is using insulin, this severely impairs the ability of the body to lower blood pressure via nitric oxide production, in turn increasing the risk of high blood pressure.
In situations where the blood pressure is too low, the catecholamine response described above doesnt discriminate, and blood sugar will also rise as a result. The same is true if the blood sugar goes too low the catecholamine response is the first thing that the body uses to compensate, and this will raise blood pressure in the aftermath. This is how low blood sugar or low blood pressure can cause the other to go high. It is important to realize that some medications that lower blood pressure or will override any natural protections you have and trigger these events as well.
Bottom line: If you are living with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both, its important to closely monitor BOTH your blood sugar and your blood pressure in tandem to avoid harming one when you treat the other.
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