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 Buying a Home Blood Pressure Monitor

Buying a Home Blood Pressure Monitor - 6 Things You Need to Know
Posted by : Firstmed    11-10-2021

Perhaps your blood pressure has been rising over time, or you're starting hypertension treatment. As a result, your doctor recommends that you purchase a home blood pressure monitor to help you keep track of your blood pressure in between trips to the doctor's office. Isn't it simple enough?

However, a short search of the internet reveals hundreds of distinct models — as well as a slew of Smartphone apps. How can you even begin to filter through all of that without your blood pressure rising?

We've got you covered, don't worry.

Luke Laffin, MD, a heart and hypertension specialist offers six recommendations for what to look for in a home blood pressure monitor.

1. Size does matter

According to Dr. Laffin, the size of the cuff is the most significant aspect to look for when buying a blood pressure monitor.

The circumference of your upper arm is used to determine the size. It's possible that a cuff that doesn't fit your arm properly will give you erroneous results.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association proposes the following sizes in their 2017 High Blood Pressure Clinical Practice Guidelines:

• Adult small: 22 to 26 cm around the arm (about 8.5 to 10 inches).

• Arm circumference of 27 to 34 cm in adults (about 10.5 to 13 inches).

• Arm circumference of 35 to 44 cm in adults (about 13.5 to 17 inches).

2. Pick arm cuffs over wrist cuffs

A blood pressure monitor can be purchased at any drugstore or online. Dr. Laffin recommends getting a monitor with an automated cuff that fits over your upper arm, regardless of where you buy it. A brachial blood pressure monitor is what it's called.

He advises against getting one that requires a stethoscope. “The ideal cuff is an automatic cuff. Avoid cuffs that go around your wrist if you're over 50.”

If you're under 50, he says, wrist restraints are probably fine.

3. Don't pay too much.

Forget about the frills and gimmicks. They add to the monitor's cost and are frequently unnecessary.

Sure, Bluetooth connectivity and cloud storage of your readings are nice to have, but you don't need them.

According to Dr. Laffin, an appropriate, physician-approved blood pressure monitor should cost no more than $40 to $60.

4. Avoid smart apps.

There are plenty of blood pressure measurement apps for your Smartphone if you browse in any app store.

Dr. Laffin is blunt: “These don't function and haven't been extensively

tested.”

Certain apps claim to be able to monitor your blood pressure using pulse wave velocity, which involves looking at the waveform in your finger's artery.

“However, these are frequently inaccurate,” he says. The last thing you want is to have misleading information about your blood pressure statistics and be alarmed — or reassured — by them.”

5. Verify for accuracy

Most monitors found in a drugstore or on the internet are OK, according to Dr. Laffin. However, it isn't a bad idea to take it to your doctor's office and compare it to the monitor there.

The lifespan of a home blood pressure machine is two to three years. After that, have it checked at your doctor's office once a year to ensure it's still correct.

6. Select three.

One additional feature to consider helping improve the accuracy of a monitor is taking three measurements automatically.

This is something that some monitors do every time you check your blood pressure. They take the first measurement, then wait 30 to 60 seconds before taking a second measurement, and then wait for another 30 to 60 seconds before taking the final measurement.

You're now ready to dive in and find the blood pressure monitor that's ideal for you - without the stress of having too many options.

 

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