Hive Health Media

How to Buy a Home Blood Pressure Monitor

If you know you’ve got high blood pressure or have a family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your blood pressure.  Your doctor may recommend that you take your blood pressure regularly at home.

The advantage of taking your blood pressure at home is that you get an idea of what it’s really like in your own environment.  When your blood pressure is taken at the clinic or hospital, it’s often artificially high because you feel a little anxious.  At home, in your regular routine, you get a more realistic picture.

microlife-home-blood-pressure-monitory

So, how do you find a good blood pressure monitor?  And when do you take your blood pressure for the best results?  That’s what we’re going to look at here.

How to choose the best home blood pressure for you.

There are 2 rules to buying the best blood pressure monitor:

  1. Buy the best you can afford, which doesn’t need to be the fanciest one, and
  2. Buy the monitor you will use. That may seem obvious, but if you get a machine that’s complicated, you won’t use it and it can’t help you if it’s sitting in a box.

To find the best home blood pressure monitor, follow these 3 steps:

Step 1.  Choose the right type of blood pressure monitor.

Different types are:

  • Fully automatic – simply takes the blood pressure when you press a button, inflates and deflates the cuff, and gives you a digital display of the result
  • Semi-automatic monitors – you inflate and deflate the cuff yourself and the device gives a digital read out of the result
  • Manual monitors – you inflate and deflate the cuff and use a stethoscope to listen for a pulse in the arm, registering when the pulse starts and ends, in order to get a reading.

If you’re not sure how to pump up the cuff or don’t want to learn too much technical stuff, then look for a fully automatic monitor.

Monitors may come with optional extras such as a memory to store the results and/or a print out facility.  These will add to the cost of the blood pressure monitor and you may feel that a piece of paper and a pen will work just as well for you.

Step 2.  Choose where to monitor sits to take the blood pressure.

There are:

  • Upper arm cuff reading monitors
  • Wrist monitors
  • Finger monitors.

The most reliable are upper arm monitors.  For these you will need the right sized cuff that wraps around your upper arm.

Here is a guide to buying the right sized cuff:

Measure round your upper arm, midway between your elbow and shoulder.

Measurement (cm) Measurement (inches) Cuff size
18-22 cm 7.1-8.7” Small
22-32 cm 8.8-12.8” Medium
32-45 cm 12.8-18” Large

 

Step 3. Look for a device that’s ‘clinically validated’

There’s a mind-boggling choice of monitors but some will be more accurate than others.  A clinically validated machine has gone through a series of tests that mean you and your doctor can trust the results.

There is a list of brands selling clinically validated machines below.

A summary of what to look for:

Buy the best you can afford.  For simple, effective blood pressure taking, look for:

  • A fully automatic blood pressure monitor,
  • with a display that’s big enough for you to read.
  • An upper arm reading device that’s
  • clinically validated,
  • comes with easy to read instructions,
  • a full guarantee
  • and a cuff that is suitable for the size of your arm. You may have to buy this separately but it is essential for getting an accurate reading, so worth the extra expense.

Examples of brands that are clinically validated:

  • Microlife home blood pressure monitors
  • A and D Instruments home blood pressure monitors
  • Braun home blood pressure monitors
  • Citizen home blood pressure monitors
  • Home and Life home blood pressure monitors
  • Honsun home blood pressure monitors
  • Kinetik home blood pressure monitors
  • Nissei home blood pressure monitors
  • Omron home blood pressure monitors.
  • Find the best prices either at your local store or online using your preferred shopping price runner.

How much to home blood pressure monitors cost?

Home blood pressure monitors cost between £40-£160/$40-$150 depending on the type and its added extras.

When should I take my blood pressure at home?

Your doctor is the first person to ask about when you should take your blood pressure at home.

You may want to monitor your blood pressure when you start new medication or a higher/lower dose to see how effective it is.

Start by taking your blood pressure every morning and evening for a week.  Ignore the first reading as it may be a little high if you’re anxious about using the machine for the first time.

[box type=”note”]After this first week or 10 days you may want to take it less often. This may be once a week or once a month, but take it at the same time of day on each occasion. This will mean you are comparing like-with-like, as blood pressure is designed to go up and down at various times of the day.[/box]

What do my blood pressure readings mean?

There is an easy to read article about blood pressure readings here:  http://modernhealthandfitness.com/blood-pressure-readings-what-are-they-and-what-can-they-tell-you

[box]Author Bio: Temirah is a nurse with over 20 years’ experience. She writes for national and international nursing and medical publications, as well as her own health websites (see above) and http://IntimateHealthHelp.net.[/box]

I'm a nurse with over 20 years' experience and have a passion for helping people understand their bodies and their health. I run 3 health-related websites including modernhealthandfitness.com.

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