Exercise For Control Blood Pressure

To measure blood pressure, you don’t necessarily have to go to the doctor. With a blood pressure monitor, anyone can check their own blood pressure at home. But measuring blood pressure is not that easy. For meaningful values, some factors must be taken into account. At what time should the measurement be taken? And on which arm? And which blood pressure values are normal? The instructions show it.

What is blood pressure?

Blood supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients. To ensure that it reaches the entire body, the heart pumps blood into the arteries, i.e. the vessels of the bloodstream, with every heartbeat. In the arteries, the blood exerts pressure on the vessel walls, causing them to expand. If the blood continues to flow, the vessels contract again. The pressure exerted on the vessels, i.e. the force with which the blood presses against the walls of the arteries, is called blood pressure. The pressure exerted on the vessels can be measured and provides information about health and diseases.

What is a blood pressure measurement?

Blood pressure is measured in the unit mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The result of a measurement always consists of two values and looks like this: 130/80 mmHg. A distinction is made between two values:

  • Systolic blood pressure (heart value /systole)
  • Diastolic blood pressure (vascular value / diastole)

The systolic value reflects the first value of the measurement result. It is measured while the heart muscle is contracting and pumping blood into the vessels. In the measurement result this is always the first and at the same time the higher of the two values. Reason: when the heart pumps blood into the vessels, the pressure in the vessels is higher. The diastolic value is measured when the heart muscle relaxes and fills with blood again. At this moment, the heart is relaxed and the pressure on the vessels is lower. Thus, the pressure and the second value of the measurement is lower. Thus, a measurement result of 130/80 mmHg means that the patient has a systolic blood pressure of 130 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mmHg.

Why is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure measurement is one of the routine examinations performed by a general practitioner. For example, blood pressure is measured as part of a possible health checkup. As part of the health checkup and preventive care, a patient is checked holistically to detect or rule out health problems and diseases. High blood pressure does not cause pain and often does not show any symptoms. Therefore, it makes sense to measure blood pressure regularly even if there are no health problems. It is even more important to measure the blood pressure if there is a suspicion that the values are too high. Because the disease is dangerous, it damages both the vessels in the long term and the heart. The symptoms are, for example, severe palpitations, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath during exertion and sleep disturbances. These are relatively unspecific and can indicate many things, but if only to rule out high blood pressure, a measurement should be taken in this case. Too low blood pressure can also be detected during a measurement. This is often the case in young, slim women. Symptoms are palpitations and dizziness, because on the one hand the body is not supplied with enough blood (brain) and on the other hand the heart wants to counteract this.

Blood pressure measurement – methods

There are two different methods of measuring blood pressure. The measurement is done either directly via a catheter in the artery (invasive measurement or bloody measurement) or indirectly via a blood pressure cuff (indirect method). The direct method is usually only used in intensive care medicine. Indirect blood pressure measurement is the most widely used method and can also be used at home.

Invasive, bloody blood pressure measurement

Invasive blood pressure measurement (direct measurement) is used to continuously measure blood pressure in critically ill or severely injured people. The method is very reliable and provides very precise values. It is used, for example, in hospital emergency rooms or in the event of accidents directly at the scene of the accident, as well as during the transport of intensive care patients. The procedure for invasive blood pressure measurement is as follows. The physician performs a puncture and the insertion of an indwelling cannula. That is, a plastic catheter is placed, usually through an easily accessible artery such as the arm. The intravenous access is connected to a tube which is filled with a saline solution that keeps the catheter free. The blood pressure can now be determined via the fluid in the tube using a connected device. The so-called pressure measuring station measures and displays the systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.

Indirect, bloodless blood pressure measurement

Indirect blood pressure measurement is the method used by the general practitioner, which can also be performed at home. This involves the use of an electronic blood pressure monitor or manual measurement by the physician using a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. The following measuring devices are available for indirect blood pressure measurement:

  • Electronic blood pressure monitors: these are suitable for self-measurement and/ or continuous blood pressure recording. The devices are attached to the upper arm or wrist and record the blood pressure digitally.
  • Portable data logger: this is used for long-term blood pressure measurement, storing the values many times a day and at night and transmitting them to a computer where the results can be analyzed.
  • Riva-Rocci blood pressure monitor: with this monitor, a cuff is placed on the patient’s upper arm and inflated. The results are displayed on a mercury column.
  • Blood pressure monitor according to Recklinghausen (sphygmomanometer): this measurement is also taken with a cuff on the patient’s upper arm. Here, the measurement results are listened to with a stethoscope and determined by means of a spring manometer.

Sphygmomanometer The methods of manual measurement and electronic measurement are explained in more detail below.

Manual blood pressure measurement

A manual blood pressure measurement is carried out, for example, at the doctor’s office or in the hospital, with the previously described possibilities by using a blood pressure monitor according to Riva-Rocci or Recklinghausen. In this process, the patient must free the upper arm so that the cuff can be attached. Clothing must not be worn during this process, as it would otherwise obstruct the blood flow. The blood pressure measurement is usually performed by a nurse or medical assistant. A so-called sphygmomanometer is used for the measurement according to Recklinghausen. This consists of a cuff with a rubber ball through which air is pumped into the cuff, the pressure gauge (manometer) and a stethoscope that makes the flow sounds of the blood audible.

Preparation of the blood pressure measurement

In order to measure a patient’s blood pressure values cleanly, they must always be measured under the same conditions. The following conditions must be met:

  • The patient should be lying or sitting
  • The measurement takes place at rest, i.e. the patient should be relaxed
  • The same place is always used for the measurement (e.g. the same arm)
  • Noise sources should be eliminated (in order to hear the measured values correctly)

Physical stress in particular, as well as anxiety, excitement and nervousness, can falsify the measured values. Therefore, the patient should rest for fifteen minutes before the measurement.

Blood pressure measurement procedure

  1. The nurse or medical assistant informs the patient about the blood pressure measurement procedure. She will also ask about any previous illnesses and any reference values that may be available.
  2. In order to be able to measure the blood pressure, the patient positions the upper arm relaxed at heart level. Before the measurement, the valve on the blood pressure monitor is checked. If the cuff is empty of air, it is placed loosely and without wrinkles around the patient’s upper arm. The arm must not rest on the tubing during this process.
  3. The cuff is closed, as is the adjusting screw on the manometer.
  4. The stethoscope is placed centrally on the elbow.
  5. The cuff is rapidly inflated with air via a rubber ball until no more blood flow can be heard. The cuff pressure is then increased by about 30 mmHg.
  6. The adjusting screw on the pressure gauge is opened slightly so that the air can escape slowly. The pressure in the cuff should drop by 3 mmHg per second.
  7. As soon as the murmur of blood flow is heard again, the systolic blood pressure is noted. The first perceptible sound is called the Korotkov sound.
  8. The cuff pressure continues to be released until the Korotkow sound becomes quieter. Once no sound is perceived, the diastolic value is noted.
  9. The adjusting screw is now opened further to allow the remaining air to escape quickly.
  10. The readings are entered in the patient record, rounded to the nearest fiver or tenth.

Blood pressure measurement on the upper arm

Sources of error in blood pressure measurement

Manual blood pressure measurement is not difficult, yet various things can be done incorrectly that falsify the readings. The following should be taken into account:

  • Clothing on the upper arm not removed (values too low)
  • Cuff does not fit arm diameter (too high or too low values depending on whether arm is too thick or too thin)
  • Cuff applied too loosely (values too high)
  • Cuff not inflated enough (systolic value too low)
  • Deflated too quickly (systolic value too low, diastolic value too high)
  • Positioning of the arm above heart level (too low values)
  • Disturbing noise in the room and thus Korotkow tones not accurately audible (values too low or too high)
  • Pumping up again on the same arm (values too high)
  • Pressing the stethoscope too hard (values too low)

Measuring blood pressure yourself – this is how it works

If you want to measure your own blood pressure, you don’t necessarily have to go to the doctor. A one-time measurement provides only a snapshot anyway. Factors such as the weather, physical exertion, stress or even excitement at the doctor’s visit can influence the level of blood pressure. To obtain reliable values, you should therefore measure your blood pressure daily over several days. The ideal time to measure blood pressure is directly in the morning, before breakfast. High blood pressure in the morning is considered particularly dangerous. However, blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. In the beginning, it should therefore be measured at several times during the day. This makes it easy to see when the values are at their highest.

Measuring blood pressure – preparation

At home, it is recommended to use a digital blood pressure monitor. This is easier to use than a sphygmo manometer. Measuring devices from the pharmacy are calibrated and provide reliable results. There are devices for the wrist and for the upper arm. Before purchasing, the width of one’s wrist or upper arm should be determined in order to find the correct cuff size. Cuffs that are too loose or too tight are among the most common mistakes when measuring blood pressure. It is essential to measure blood pressure at rest. Before the measurement, sit relaxed on a chair for about three to five minutes and breathe in and out calmly. The arms are freed and the cuff is applied to bare skin. Once the circulation has calmed down, the arm on which the blood pressure is measured is placed on a table at heart level. If the measurement is taken on the upper arm, the hand should be placed on the table with the palm facing upwards.

Measuring blood pressure – Procedure

For the measurement, the cuff is placed around the wrist or upper arm. It is placed at heart level, on the upper arm about two finger widths above the bend of the elbow. If you measure at the wrist, place the cuff exactly over the pulse. The inflatable part is on the inside. Then switch on the blood pressure monitor. During the measurement, you should not move, cough, cross your legs or talk. This could falsify the values. Blood pressure is always measured on the arm where it is higher. A reference measurement is therefore first taken on both arms.

Long-term blood pressure measurement (24-hour blood pressure measurement)

The most reliable measurement is the so-called long-term blood pressure measurement. In this case, up to 70 measurements are taken within 24 hours with a device connected to the patient, allowing reliable mean values to be determined during the day and at night. You can find more detailed information about this in the article Long-term blood pressure measurement.

Blood pressure measurement result – normal blood pressure and high blood pressure

The results of the blood pressure measurement are noted. But which value is actually considered normal, when do we speak of low blood pressure and when is it elevated? Detailed information on this can be found in the overview of blood pressure values. If you want to measure your blood pressure yourself, you can use the following values as a guide: – Normal blood pressure in adults: systolic under 140 mmHg, diastolic under 90 mmHg – Low blood pressure: systolic under 100 mmHg, diastolic under 60 mmHg – High blood pressure: systolic from 140 mmHg, diastolic from 90 mmHg Elevated blood pressure often causes no symptoms. However, if it remains untreated, there is a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack or stroke. If high blood pressure is suspected, it should be checked regularly and treated with appropriate medication if necessary. Psychology professor explains: The 4-6-10 rule: How you breathe stress and high blood pressure simply away Correct breathing switches our brain to relaxation mode. Used twice a day for several minutes, slow breathing can work as well as medication. How you apply this simple breathing technique right away, it works the first time – and also helps you lose weight. The links marked with a symbol or underlining are affiliate links. If a purchase is made through them, we receive a commission – without additional costs for you! More information Hardly anyone pays attention to their breathing – and thus does not use the great potential that conscious inhaling and exhaling has in addition. Breathing is much more than just filling up with oxygen and energy. Breathing with inhalation and exhalation enables us to remain in balance, to provide energy when we want to become active or are exposed to stress. “However, people underestimate what a decisive control variable exhaling is in this process,” explains Thomas Loew, Head of the Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital Regensburg.

The trick with the long exhale

Why is exhaling so important? “Only in the exhalation can the oxygen work in each cell,” the professor explains. The trick is to extend this phase somewhat and thus give the cells more time to regenerate. This can be clearly seen at the molecular level. In these resting phases, the exhalation, the cells recover, so to speak.

Why eastern breathing techniques are usually of little use to us

Slow, conscious breathing and breathing exercises as a factor in health have indeed been known for a long time. “People have experimented a lot with breathing for thousands of years, in pranajama yoga, for example, there are a wide variety of breathing exercises and techniques,” explains the psychosomatics expert. Special breathing rhythms have been developed here for every health problem, for every life situation. “The problem here is that these sophisticated techniques often overwhelm us Westerners,” he expert points out. “Keep it small and simple” is the better guiding principle, more suitable for everyday use. So the simpler the technique, the higher the chance that we will actually perform this form of breathing.

This is how simple breathing with deceleration works

Normally, we breathe ten to 12 times per minute. “To decelerate, we halve that to six times per minute,” reports Thomas Loew, who also conducts research in this area. This number corresponds to the breathing rhythm during sleep. That means:

  • 4 seconds inhale,
  • 6 exhale,
  • breathe in this way for at least ten minutes.

“4610” is the abbreviated name, sometimes it is also called “4711”, simply because the cologne number is easier to remember. But whether the exhalation takes six or seven seconds is ultimately irrelevant, the professor explains. What is important, however, is the number of minutes. “For some people, five minutes already have an effect, but the longer the better,” the expert reports. For the vast majority of people, “4610” has proven effective, as EEG studies of the brain show. Because this breathing rhythm demonstrably influences brain activity, as Thomas Loew also explains in his new book.

How anesthesiologists use the effect of slow breathing

By the way, anesthesiologists have known for a long time how positive slow breathing can be, reports Thomas Loew: If the blood pressure rises during an operation and there are signs of a blood pressure crisis, the doctor reduces the breathing rate on the ventilator. The blood pressure immediately drops somewhat, cardiac output improves, and the heart pumps more economically. This relieves the pressure and the patient becomes calmer overall.

Decelerated breathing starts in the brain

By consciously breathing slowly, we fool our body into thinking we are asleep. It reacts accordingly and shuts down many activities. And we literally regenerate ourselves down to the molecular level in all cells. What lies behind this reaction: Decelerated breathing starts in the brain, more precisely in the central region that controls the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. There, a general calming down occurs – which the EEG tests clearly prove. This shutdown affects blood pressure, heartbeat, digestion, muscle tone, in other words, physically. In certain chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, the breathing technique has been shown to improve lung function and patients’ quality of life. But it also brings down emotions like aggression and anxiety.

High blood pressure demonstrably decreases

These effects have been proven in many studies. “Studies have shown that slow breathing lowers blood pressure, by an average of 8 mm/Hg of the systolic value, i.e. the upper one,” the scientist reports. In this context, decelerated breathing is comparably effective in some people as corresponding medications, such as antihypertensives and anti-anxiety drugs.

Losing weight and quitting smoking with slow breathing

Last but not least, the breathing technique is also suitable for impulse control, to lose excess weight or to get off cigarettes. “Overweight is a psychosomatic disease, a behavioral disorder,” explains Thomas Loew. After all, the overweight person knows perfectly well he’s not supposed to eat the candy bar, but can’t resist the impulse. “We advise, before the refrigerator door is opened, first of all some minutes slowly to breathe and then to consider whether one must eat now really something”, reports the expert. In addition there is already a study, with which the breath technology reduces the desire for meal. It is the same with smoking, which in principle is nothing other than decelerated breathing – but with inhalation of toxic substances, because nicotine is actually stimulating. The fact that people experience smoking as relaxing is due to the way they smoke. They inhale briefly and then slowly blow the smoke out again: decelerated breathing, which here paradoxically outweighs the physiological effect of the neurotoxin nicotine (stimulating). Ultimately, then, smoking has such a relaxing effect because of the long exhalation. Finally Non-Smoker: Smoke-Free in 33 Days With our PDF guidebook, you’ll finally succeed in getting off nicotine in just 33 days – for good. Buy it now as a digital booklet

Use decelerated breathing daily and/or situationally, with TV and APP

The expert advises his patients to practice special breathing as daily as possible. Those who want to get a grip on high blood pressure in the long term, for example, should train twice a day, for example, in front of the TV: in the morning, for example, during MOMA and in the evening during the daytime news, breathe for at least ten minutes according to the 4 and 6 rule. To make it easier to maintain the necessary tempo, you can use the fingers of one hand to count slowly to four and then to six (plus the second hand), stretching the bent arm forward each time, similar to conducting. Who would like to alleviate for example in the office stress in this way and does not want to accomplish that before the colleagues, “can do that gladly also on the quiet little toilet, the breath exercise facilitates additionally also still the defecation, then you have equal two positive effects , supplement the expert humorously. Also before examinations or with conflicts this breath form can be used as immediate assistance. Who does not want to count, can be supported by various digital tools, for example APPs such as Breathe, or in fitness watches the setting Relax. Relatively new are also electric toothbrushes that preset the breathing rhythm and are thus even said to lower blood pressure.

Meditation, singing, yoga or slow breathing with “4610” – the comparison

Decelerated breathing with long exhalations is the key to becoming calmer and relaxing. In the past, for example in the Middle Ages, we had integrated this decelerated breathing into our everyday life as a matter of course, for example during daily prayer or choral singing. “I am often asked on the subject of singing, which is better, decelerated breathing or singing?” reports the professor. The physiological effect is better with decelerated breathing, but those who can’t or don’t want to do that are well served by singing. And how does slow breathing compare with more difficult breathing techniques? “Slow breathing is the common denominator of all relaxation techniques – from autogenic training to Zen meditation,” the expert notes. Many of these techniques involve elaborate frameworks, exercises and rituals. For the actually desired effect – deep relaxation – they are actually not absolutely necessary. Decelerated breathing is a low-threshold, simple option that can be used at any time and works just as well. Whether you choose the yoga breathing technique or the “4610” method, it could be compared to learning to play the piano, says Thomas Loew – you can learn to play the piano as a mere hobby or become a true virtuoso. It’s the same with breathing. Exercise For Control Blood Pressure.

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