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What is Wrist Blood Pressure?

By Janis Bennett
Updated May 17, 2024
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Wrist blood pressure is the force of blood pulsing through the veins in the wrist, and an overall indication of how the heart is working to move blood through the body. Blood pressure can change at anytime due to physical activity, diet, medication, and even mood. An unusually high or low unexplained blood pressure can be a sign of a medical condition. An alternative to obtaining blood pressure readings high on the arm with a blood pressure cuff, a wrist blood pressure monitor can be easily used at home for a quick and accurate reading.

When medical conditions are prevalent, patients often have to monitor their blood pressure at home. Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, is a common medical condition in both men and women. High blood pressure is caused when the heart is working too hard and pumping faster than it should be. This condition causes strain on the heart, arteries, and veins, and can ultimately lead to a heart attack. In order to help regulate hypertension, medications are often provided to patients along with instructions to monitor their blood pressure.

Alternately, low blood pressure, or hypotension, is often a cause for concern as the heart does not beat fast enough. This is a sign of a blockage in an artery, most often due to high cholesterol. Low blood pressure could also cause circulation issues in the hands, legs, and feet. It is easy for the elderly, who are at higher risk for blood pressure issues, to place a small cuff around the wrist to monitor blood pressure; the other option is to place a large and bulky cuff on the upper arm, which must be in the proper position to be accurate. The majority of blood pressure monitoring devices for home use are wrist monitors.

A salty diet may cause high blood pressure. As the salt content in the blood rises, it attracts the water from around the cells in muscles and organs to dilute the salt, which causes swelling. When the kidneys can't keep up with the high salt levels and the blood is thin from the extra water, the heart has to pump harder to move the blood through the body. When the heart pumps harder it can become weak may result in a heart attack.

When a person with a high sodium diet is instructed to monitor blood pressures, a wrist blood pressure machine is often a good choice. When the person sees a rise in the wrist blood pressure, a dietary change can be made to lower sodium intake. After the dietary change is made, blood pressure should return to normal.

Mood can also affect blood pressure. When a person is highly excited or scared, blood pressure can go up. When a person is tired or lethargic, blood pressure is usually on the low side. Doctors and nurses usually instruct patients to be as calm and still as possible when taking a blood pressure reading in order to obtain the most accurate results.

Blood pressure results are given as two numbers. The number on bottom indicates the minimum pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest, called the diastolic blood pressure reading. The number on top is the systolic reading, and it indicates the maximum pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. These numbers are measurements of millimeters of mercury measurements (mmHg). When blood pressure results are written, the diastolic and systolic numbers are divided by a slash.

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