June 15, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Updated Version - July 28, 2023
Monitoring your health at home can aid you and your doctor in keeping track of how your treatments are working and making adjustments to make you healthier. If you are suffering from blood pressure or have a high risk of developing blood pressure, then it is recommended that you monitor your blood pressure regularly. Now, you can even measure your blood pressure in the comfort of your home using a blood pressure machine without visiting a doctor's clinic.
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Why Monitor your Blood Pressure at Home?
Doctors are telling more and more people with high blood pressure to check their numbers at home.
Why? At the doctor's office, your blood pressure reading only shows your numbers at that moment. A home monitor lets you check it as often as you want. This can give your doctor a better idea of your true blood pressure. The best way to know for sure if you have high blood pressure is to measure it several times a day for a few months.
Staying on top of your blood pressure is important, but it doesn't have to be difficult. With the right home blood pressure machine, it's easy to keep your health in check. By giving your doctor a record of your blood pressure reading between appointments, you're more likely to get the right recommendations and medications.
Research shows that home blood pressure monitoring can help people with hypertension keep their condition under control. For those who are just starting to take medications to lower blood pressure, monitoring at home can help determine how well the therapy is working. Minor fluctuation in daily monitoring of blood pressure is fine as long as the figures are near the average 120/80 mmHg. So, in a way monitoring Blood Pressure at home can be motivational and also give you real-time feedback.
When it comes to home blood pressure machines, you have a lot of options to choose from. So, if you are looking for a home blood pressure monitoring device, here are some tips to help you pick the right one.
Tips on what should you look for in a Blood Pressure Check Machine
Tip #1 - Does the BP Machine have the right blood pressure cuff size?
The size of the cuff is the most important feature to check when you're selecting a blood pressure machine. The size relates to the circumference of your upper arm. A cuff that doesn't fit properly on your arm may give you inaccurate readings. These are the recommended sizes:
- Adult Small: Arm circumference of 22 to 26 centimeters (about 8.5 to 10 inches).
- Adult Average: Arm circumference of 27 to 34 centimeters (about 10.5 to 13 inches).
- Adult Large: Arm circumference of 35 to 44 centimeters (about 13.5 to 17 inches).
Tip #2 - Is the BP machine clinically approved and accurate in readings?
Accuracy is one of the most important things to look for in a blood pressure monitor. Ensure that your blood pressure machine is clinically approved for accuracy to obtain accurate results.
Tip #3 - Is the blood pressure monitor interface simple and easy to use?
A user-friendly interface with large numbers and big buttons makes it easier to navigate the blood pressure monitor and understand the results.
Tip #4 - Can the BP Machine store past readings?
Many blood pressure monitors these days are equipped with the function to store readings, even for multiple users. This feature is really helpful if one or more people in your house are suffering from hypertension.
Tip #5 - Is the BP apparatus portable?
Someone who is constantly traveling and on the go might benefit from a portable option.
Tip #6 - Does it have any other additional monitoring capability?
Go for the one that detects an irregularity in the heartbeat too along with monitoring your BP. This way you can keep an eye on potential troubles and health risks.
Tip #7 - Can the BP machine be linked to iOS or Android?
Some blood pressure monitors can link to your iOS or Android device wirelessly using Bluetooth. This is a great option to store the monitored data electronically all in one place so you can refer to it whenever you want.
Types of Blood Pressure Monitors Available in the Market
Typically there are two types of blood pressure monitor: Automatic and Manual. Automatic BP monitors inflate the cuff automatically with a single push of a button, unlike the manual model that requires you to pump a bulb to inflate the cuff yourself. The automatic BP machine tends to perform better than the manual one.
Some different options for Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors are:
Upper arm cuff Blood Pressure Monitors
This is the most popular BP monitor available in the market. If you are using a digital model, then the cuff will automatically be inflated and the reading will get displayed. These days most digital monitors come with 'risk category indicators', so you have an additional benefit. Also, the upper arm cuff blood pressure monitors(regardless of whether they are digital or manual) tend to be more accurate.
Wrist mount Blood Pressure Monitors
These monitors are fully automatic as well as easy to use but they are less accurate than the upper arm cuff BP monitors unless you have your arm and wrist positioned exactly at heart level. You must follow the manual very closely because there's a lot of room for error. Wrist monitors are easy to travel with and can be more comfortable than upper arm monitors.
Finger Blood Pressure Monitor
These are very similar to wrist monitors. They're small, easy to travel with, and more comfortable than an upper arm monitor. Again, the main shortcoming is that it's not the most accurate.
A blood pressure monitor integrated inside a Smartwatch/Fitness Watch
Today, in the world of wearable devices, you can use a blood pressure monitor watch to measure your blood pressure levels by reading your systolic and diastolic pressure levels. Blood pressure monitor watches and fitness trackers give you the freedom to take measurements as often as you choose to, even on the go. Some of these devices also count steps or monitor sleep patterns.
Using a blood pressure monitor is just one way to improve your health so you can live a safer, more active life. The blood pressure machine you choose should be the one that's right for you and suit your budget and needs.
What factors to consider when buying a home blood pressure monitor?
When purchasing a home blood pressure monitor, it's important to consider the device's accuracy, simplicity, and the fit and comfort of the cuff. It should be easy to use and have clear, understandable instructions. The monitor should have an automatic cuff or a digital readout. Cuff size is also crucial for accurate readings; if it's too large or too small, the results may not be accurate. A memory function for storing readings can also be helpful.
What is the best type of blood pressure monitor for home use?
The best type of blood pressure monitor for home use is generally an automatic, digital monitor with an arm cuff. They are also easy to use, with a digital readout that is easy to interpret.
Why is accuracy important in a home blood pressure monitor?
Accuracy is critical in a home blood pressure monitor because it ensures that you're getting the correct readings of your blood pressure. Inaccurate readings could lead to unnecessary anxiety, false complacency, or improper medication adjustments.
How to ensure the accuracy of a home blood pressure monitor?
You can ensure the accuracy of your home blood pressure monitor by getting it validated for accuracy and reliability. This typically involves comparing the readings from your monitor with those taken by a healthcare professional using professional-grade equipment. Also, it's important to regularly maintain and calibrate the device, follow the instructions for use, and choose the right cuff size.
Can wrist blood pressure monitors be as accurate as arm monitors?
Wrist monitors can provide accurate readings, but they are generally not as reliable as arm monitors. This is because the wrist arteries are narrower and not as deep under the skin as those of the upper arm. Therefore, it's harder to get accurate readings consistently from the wrist.
What are the key features to look for in a blood pressure monitor?
Key features to look for in a blood pressure monitor include automatic inflation and deflation, easy-to-read digital display, irregular heartbeat detection, multiple user memory, adjustable cuff size, and data connectivity for syncing with apps or a computer.
Why is cuff size important in a blood pressure monitor?
The cuff size in a blood pressure monitor is crucial because a cuff that is the wrong size can give inaccurate readings. A cuff that's too tight could result in a reading that's too high, while a cuff that's too loose could result in a reading that's too low. The cuff should encircle at least 80% of the arm for an accurate reading.
How to use a blood pressure monitor correctly at home?
To use a home blood pressure monitor correctly, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arm on a flat surface so that the cuff is at heart level. Follow the device's instructions for positioning the cuff and starting the device. Stay still and quiet during the measurement and take two to three readings, waiting for one to three minutes between measurements.
Can I trust a home blood pressure monitor?
You can generally trust a home blood pressure monitor as long as it is validated, regularly calibrated and maintained, and used correctly according to the manufacturer's instructions. It is also a good idea to occasionally compare readings from your home monitor with readings taken by a healthcare professional.
Do I need a prescription to buy a home blood pressure monitor?
No, you do not need a prescription to buy a home blood pressure monitor. They are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, online retailers, and even some supermarkets.
Why should I consider having a blood pressure monitor at home?
Having a home blood pressure monitor can help you monitor your blood pressure levels regularly, which is especially important if you have high blood pressure or other conditions that could affect your blood pressure. Regular monitoring can provide your healthcare provider with valuable information about your health and help them adjust your treatment if necessary.
What is the ideal frequency to measure blood pressure at home?
The frequency of measuring blood pressure at home depends on your health condition and your doctor's recommendations. However, a common suggestion is to measure it twice daily, in the morning and evening. Always take multiple readings each time for a more accurate result.
How to maintain a home blood pressure monitor?
Maintain your home blood pressure monitor by cleaning it regularly as instructed by the manufacturer, storing it properly when not in use, and calibrating it as required. It's also important to replace batteries regularly and check the condition of the cuff for wear and tear.
Is a digital blood pressure monitor better than an aneroid one?
Digital blood pressure monitors are generally more accurate and easier to use than aneroid ones. They also typically include more features, like automatic inflation and deflation, and the ability to store readings. However, aneroid monitors may be cheaper and more portable.
Are smart blood pressure monitors a good choice?
Smart blood pressure monitors can be a good choice, especially for those who like to track their health data over time or share it with their healthcare providers. These devices can connect to smartphone apps or online platforms to store and analyze readings, making it easy to spot trends or changes in your blood pressure.
Can I use a home blood pressure monitor for multiple users?
Yes, many home blood pressure monitors allow for multiple users. They often have memory functions that can store separate data for different users, which can be useful for families who want to monitor their blood pressure at home.
How to choose a portable blood pressure monitor?
When choosing a portable blood pressure monitor, consider its size, weight, and ease of use. It should be lightweight and compact, with an easy-to-read display. It's also useful if it comes with a carry case. Be sure to check its accuracy and reliability as well.
Can I use a home blood pressure monitor during pregnancy?
Yes, a home blood pressure monitor can be used during pregnancy, especially for those at risk of preeclampsia. However, it's important to discuss home monitoring with a healthcare provider, as certain devices may be more accurate and suitable for use during pregnancy.