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How To Choose Home Blood Pressure Monitor

Many people with high blood pressure will monitor their blood pressure at home after they are suggested by their doctors. A doctor will usually suggest you getting a blood pressure monitor at home to help keep a track of your blood pressure levels. This will help you to keep a record of your blood pressure readings which shows your doctor how much your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day.

If you are taking medications to control your blood pressure, the blood pressure readings may help your doctor understand if the medications are working. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to help manage the condition. Before you start measuring your blood pressure at home you have to choose the right blood pressure monitor that best meets your needs.

Read on to know which home blood pressure monitor you should choose.

What Equipment To Use To Measure Blood Pressure At Home

You can either use an aneroid (manual) or automatic (digital) monitor to measure your blood pressure at home. The following features should be considered when you select a blood pressure monitor.

  • Size - The cuff size is the most important feature to check while buying a blood pressure monitor. While selecting a blood pressure monitor, ensure that the cuff size is appropriate because if the cuff size is wrong the monitor will show inaccurate readings. The cuff size is based on the size of your upper arm [1].

The American Heart Association recommends the cuff bladder length should be80 per cent of the patient's measured arm circumference and the width should be at least 40 per cent.

  • Display -While buying a monitor check the display of it. You should be able to read the numbers clearly on the monitor.
  • Sound - Aneroid monitors come with stethoscopes. If you are selecting an aneroid monitor, you should be able to hear your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
  • Price - Price is another important feature to check when it comes to buying a blood pressure monitor. The blood pressure monitors come in different prices. Check out which one suits your needs and do not rush to buy the pricey one as they may not show accurate results.

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Aneroid Monitors

Aneroid blood pressure monitors check your blood pressure manually. You have to squeeze the bulb to inflate the cuff around your arm and then you read a gauge by looking at a pointer on the dial which shows your blood pressure readings. Aneroid monitors are often less expensive and it shows accurate readings compared to digital monitors [2]. However, aneroid monitors are more susceptible to damage which may lead to inaccurate readings.

Aneroid monitors may not work best for hearing-impaired people because you need to listen to your heartbeat clearly through the stethoscope.


Digital Monitors

Digital blood pressure monitors are easy to use and read. It has an upper arm cuff that you need to inflate to see the blood pressure readings on the screen. These blood pressure machines are good for hearing-impaired people since there is no need to listen to your heartbeat through the stethoscope [3].

Digital monitors are expensive and they can show inaccurate readings if there is a slight body movement or an irregular heartbeat.


What About Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors? Are They Accurate?

Wrist blood pressure monitors are less accurate compared to the blood pressure monitors that have a cuff. Your arm and wrist must be at heart level when you are checking your blood pressure with a wrist monitor. The American Heart Association recommends using blood pressure monitors that measure blood pressure in your upper arm rather than using wrist blood pressure monitors [4].

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Should You Use Apps To Check Blood Pressure? Are They Accurate?

There are many smartphone apps available today that claim to measure your blood pressure, but they aren't accurate and reliable. Many noted studies have shown that smartphone apps are ineffective and show inaccurate results [5] [6] [7].


How Long Do Home Blood Pressure Monitors Last?

Most home blood pressure monitors work for at least two or three years after which get it checked by your doctor annually to make sure that it is working correctly.

To Conclude...

Home blood pressure monitors are an effective and easy way to measure blood pressure at home. When selecting blood pressure monitors look for the one that comes with a cuff and ensure that the cuff size is right. Once you buy the device, get it checked by your doctor for its accuracy and ask your doctor to teach you how to use it correctly.

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