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How to Buy a Home Blood Pressure Monitor

Updated on April 14, 2011

Do you know that you there is no need to visit your doctor to have your Blood Pressure measured? You can do it on your own staying in the comfort of your home with a home Blood Pressure Monitor. By doing this you can check your BP on a daily basis that will help you to evaluate how well your lifestyle measures and medications are working.

A home BP monitor can help diagnose certain types of hypertension – like ‘white coat hypertension’ which occurs when a person’s BP gets high in the doctor’s office probably due to anxiety but at home the BP is perfectly within control.

There are a wide variety of home BP monitors available in the market, but they can be distilled down to two main types: Aneroid and Electronic.

Aneroid monitors: These resemble the monitors used in most healthcare clinics. They consist of a dial gauge and a stethoscope attached to an arm cuff. The cuff is inflated by squeezing a rubber bulb that forces air into the cuff.

Measuring BP as the cuff deflates involves listening with the stethoscope for when the thumping sounds begin and end, and watching the needle on the gauge. As you can understand this requires some manual skill, good hearing to listen for the thumps and good vision to see the needle on the dial.

Electronic monitors: These are much simple to use which consist of only a cuff and a gauge. What’s more, most electronic monitors are fully automated – meaning that they inflate and deflate automatically.

These monitors also don’t require any stethoscope and the outcome is displayed on an easy-to-read digital display unit. Some electronic models can store readings in the memory and generate a paper printout of past results.

Choosing a monitor and getting accurate results:

Typically, the electronic models are best for home use. Before purchasing that the cuff inflates and deflates automatically and fits your arm properly. A cuff that is too small or too large can produce inaccurate readings. Also, make sure that you can read the display.

Your BP monitor is worthless if you don’t know to use it properly. Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions but also bring it to your next doctor visit. Your doctor can check its accuracy and watch you while you use it to make sure that you’re doing it correctly.

Here are some essential tips on getting more accurate results:

  1. Don’t exercise, eat, drink caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee or cola) or smoke in the 30 seconds before measuring your BP.
  2. Relax for three to five minutes before taking the reading. Don’t forget to remove any jewelry or clothing that could interfere with the placement of the cuff.
  3. Once you’re ready to measure your BP, sit in a chair with your back supported, legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor.
  4. Strap the cuff around your upper arm at least an inch above the crease of your elbow. Make sure the cuff is strapped on tightly enough so that only one fingertip can fit underneath. Keep your arm at waist level when taking the measurement.
  5. Take two readings, one to three minutes apart and average the results.

Read more articles on Blood Pressure and Hypertension by the same writer:

Resistant Hypertension and High Blood Pressure

8 Effective Tips to control High Blood Pressure & Resistant Hypertension

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