Most accurate Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
Why should I measure my blood pressure at home and keep a record of it?
Measuring your blood pressure at home and keeping a record of the measurements will show you and your doctor how much your blood pressure changes during the day. Your doctor can use your record of measurements to see how well your medicine is working to control your high blood pressure. Also, measuring your own blood pressure is a good way to take part in managing your own health and recognizing changes.
What equipment do I need to measure my blood pressure?
To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or a digital monitor. Choose the type of monitor that best suits your needs.
The aneroid monitor has a gauge that is read by looking at a pointer on a dial. The cuff is placed around your upper arm and inflated by hand, by squeezing a rubber bulb.
Digital monitors have either manual or automatic cuffs. The blood pressure reading flashes on a small screen.
What are the pros and cons of the aneroid monitor?
One advantage of the aneroid monitor is that it can easily be carried from one place to another. Also, the cuff for the device has a built-in stethoscope, so you don't need to buy a separate stethoscope. It's also easier to manage this way. The unit may have a special feature that makes it easy to put the cuff on with one hand. In addition, the aneroid monitor usually costs less than digital monitors. Aneroid monitors range in price from about $20 to $40.
The aneroid monitor also has some disadvantages. First, it is a complicated device that can easily be damaged and become less accurate. The device is also difficult to use if it doesn't have the special feature-a metal ring-that makes it easier to put the cuff on. In addition, the rubber bulb that inflates the cuff may be difficult to squeeze. This type of monitor may not be appropriate for hearing-impaired people, because of the need to listen to heart sounds through the stethoscope.
What are the pros and cons of the digital monitor?
Because the digital monitor is automatic, it is the more popular blood-pressure measuring device. The blood pressure measurement is easy to read, because the numbers are shown on a screen. Some electronic monitors also have a paper printout that gives you a record of the blood pressure reading.
The digital monitor is easier to use than the aneroid unit. It has a gauge and stethoscope in one unit, and the numbers are easy to read. It also has an error indicator, and deflation is automatic. Inflation of the cuff is either automatic or manual, depending on the model. This blood pressure monitoring device is good for hearing-impaired patients, since there is no need to listen to heart sounds through the stethoscope.
A disadvantage of the digital monitor is that the accuracy is changed by body movements or an irregular heart rate. In addition, the monitor requires batteries. Some models are designed for use with the left arm only. This may make them hard for some patients to use. Finally, some digital monitors are expensive. They range in price from about $30 to more than $100.
Can I use a finger/wrist blood pressure monitor?
Tests have shown that finger/wrist devices do not measure blood pressure very accurately. They are extremely sensitive to position and body temperature, and are more expensive than other monitors (often costing more than $100).
Features to look for in a blood pressure monitor
- The right cuff size is very important. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to tell you the cuff size you need, based on the size of your arm. Blood pressure readings will be wrong if your cuff is the wrong size.
- The numbers on the monitor should be easy for you to read.
- If you are using a stethoscope, you must be able to hear heart sounds through it.
- Cost may be an important factor. Since home blood pressure units vary in price, you may have to shop around. The most expensive units might not be the best or the most accurate.
How do I know if my monitor is accurate or if I am using it correctly?
Once you buy your monitor, take it to your doctor's office to be checked for accuracy. You should have your monitor checked once a year. Proper care and storage are also necessary. Make sure the tubing is not twisted when the monitor is stored, and keep it away from heat. Periodically check the tubing for cracks and leaks.
Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. Proper use of it will help you and your doctor achieve good results in controlling your blood pressure.
Understanding the medical terms
- Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the artery.
- Hypertension means high blood pressure.
- Hypotension means low blood pressure.
- Brachial artery is a blood vessel that goes from your shoulder to just below your elbow. You measure the pressure in this artery.
- Systolic pressure is the highest pressure in an artery when your heart is pumping blood to your body.
- Diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure in an artery when your heart is at rest.
- Blood pressure measurement is made up of both the systolic and the diastolic pressure. It is normally written like this: 120/80, with the systolic (top) number first.