Blood pressure monitors
Monitor your blood pressure at home!
Significant rises and drops in blood pressure can be due to a number of health conditions, like high blood pressure - which is why you should regularly keep track of your blood pressure and heart rate. To measure these yourself, consider investing in a reliable home blood pressure monitor. Continue reading to learn more about these devices!
Blood pressure monitors
Sudden blood pressure changes - both rising and falling - may be the first sign of serious health problems. That is why it is important to control your blood pressure levels, and not to disregard any significant deviations from normal levels. Every home should have a blood pressure monitor. Below you will find proven and valuable advice for choosing a suitable home blood pressure monitor.
When should you measure your blood pressure?
When you feel well and are healthy, then you should measure your blood pressure at least once or twice a week. You probably didn’t think you’d have to do so as often, did you? Most of us measure our blood pressure only when visiting a doctor, so for many people, this occurs less than once a year. However, it should be remembered that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is still one of the greatest contributors to premature deaths in the world. Therefore, it is important to keep track of your health - all it takes is a few minutes of your time.
If you have regular problems with hypertension, you should measure your blood pressure and heart rate regularly - preferably in the morning, right after waking up. You should also measure your blood pressure if you have headaches, dizziness or experience tinnitus.
When and how do I use a home blood pressure monitor?
It is best to measure your blood pressure in the morning, immediately after waking up, however, it is not required. There are a few rules to remember about using a blood pressure measurement:
- Do not drink coffee, smoke or consume large meals 30 minutes prior to taking a measurement.
- Avoid exertion and excessive physical activity 30 minutes prior to the measurement.
- It is recommended to rest for a few minutes before taking blood pressure reading - preferably on a seat with a backrest option.
- A correct body temperature is needed to provide accurate blood pressure readings - if you are too hot or too cold, you should wait a while and measure your pressure only after reaching a neutral body temperature.
- Measuring blood pressure at home should be done on the left upper arm, however, this is just a recommendation.
Which pressure monitor should you choose?
There are a number of blood pressure monitors on the market to choose from - selecting the right one depends on your preferences and needs. The main difference in models is the type of cuff.
Most arm blood pressure monitors have the cuff placed on the wrist, which does not provide accurate measurements, as the person may have circulatory disorders of the limbs. A more easy to use home blood pressure monitor is one that attaches to the upper arm.
This blood pressure monitoring device sits two to three centimeters above the elbow, and the measurement obtained at this part of the body is far more accurate than from blood pressure monitors with cuffs at the wrist. Additionally, an upper arm blood pressure monitor works better for people who suffer from atherosclerosis, as their shoulder veins are thicker, making it easier to assess their arm blood pressure levels.
Gauge or electronic - which blood pressure monitor is best?
When it comes to choosing blood pressure monitors, you can choose from ones with gauges (aneroid) or electronic components. Since blood pressure monitors with gauges are rather complicated to service, they are used mainly in medical facilities and are operated by qualified staff. When using a blood pressure monitor, it is necessary to manually inflate the cuff. In addition to the gauge that provides the blood pressure levels, this type of monitor also has a built in stethoscope that is used to listen to the heart rate, which can be difficult to measure yourself. Additionally, a blood pressure monitor with gauges requires calibration from time to time. Uncalibrated or poorly calibrated monitors will give false results.
The accuracy of this type of blood pressure monitor is very high if it is used by an experienced person who knows how to operate it. Therefore, this blood pressure monitor is not suitable for inexperienced people who want to make measurements at home themselves.
Electronic blood pressure monitors are modern and more easy to use than devices with gauges. This type of monitor does not come with a stethoscope - only a cuff and electronic display, which shows the blood pressure results. This variant is easy to use, which makes it a more popular choice for home use.
Frequently asked questions - FAQ
I found an electronic blood pressure monitor - now what do I do?
There are different types of electronic blood pressure monitors. Semi-automatic ones require the user to only only place the arm in the cuff, but also to manually inflate it. Due to this, they are not recommended for elderly people who may have difficulty doing so. Automatic blood pressure monitors are the most practical solution if you want to use this kind of device at home. The electronic display shows the blood pressure results, and includes automatic cuff inflation - making this kind of monitor the most convenient option. You just have to put on the cuff and press one button - it will do the rest. This type of device is easy to use - even for elderly people.
Does cuff size matter?
It does, however, the cuff is larger than you may think. The wrong cuff size can contribute to an incorrect measurement. The standard adult cuff is for people who have an arm circumference between 20 and 32 centimeters. A larger cuff is used for obese people or those with large biceps.
If the arm blood pressure is measured using a too small or too large cuff, the result will be incorrect. If you have a blood pressure monitor that has an unsuitable cuff size, you may want to simply replace this part. The cost of buying a cuff will certainly be lower than an entirely new monitor.
How do I know if my blood pressure monitor works properly?
Results from a malfunctioning blood pressure monitor are misleading and can result in a number of consequences. That's why it’s important to be sure that your equipment is working properly. Have it checked out by a specialist, and have them measure your pressure with their pressure monitor, in order to compare the results. If they are the same or very similar, it means your blood pressure monitor is working properly. Otherwise, it will be necessary to repair or purchase a new device.
How much does a reliable blood pressure monitor cost?
Blood pressure monitor prices vary - starting at around 30 dollars. However, to have an accurate blood pressure measurement at home, you will need to invest in an electronic monitor that is at least 50 dollars.
Blood pressure monitors can be bought at both a medical store and pharmacy, and even at your local supermarket. When buying this type of device, it's worth consulting with a professional, in order to choose a reliable device for yourself. We recommend you purchase a blood pressure monitor in a medical store, where the salespeople are knowledgeable about these types of devices. With their advice, you’ll definitely find the right equipment to meet your needs.