Monitoring blood pressure at home, in between doctor’s visits, is a good practice.
This is especially true, if you’ve just started, with high blood pressure medications.
But it could be hard to choose the right device.
From smartphone apps, to traditional monitors, you’ve got many choices.
Consider these five factors, before you make your purchase.
Factor 1: Arm-Based vs Wrist-Based
Placing a cuff around your arm is the best way to get an accurate reading.
This is because it’s easier for the monitor to detect the right blood pressure, when your arm is positioned next to your heart.
Wrist monitors are usually not a good idea.
Go for them only if you’ve got a large arm, or a sensitive arm, that gets hurt by the pressure of the cuffs.
Arm-based monitors could be both analog or digital.
The digital ones are slightly more expensive.
Factor 2: Size of the Cuff
Once you’ve decided to go with an arm-based monitor, the next thing is to find the right cuff size.
The cuff size is the circumference of your upper arm.
Choosing the wrong size could drastically affect your readings.
Certain guidelines are approved by the American Heart Association.
These are just recommendations.
Everyone is different, and measuring your arm size could help you choose the right monitor.
Factor 3: Budget
Buying a more expensive monitor isn’t always the better decision, when it comes to getting the right blood pressure monitor.
The extra price is often because of some additional features that you may never use.
If you see a monitoring device that boasts of cloud storage, data backup, wireless connectivity, and so on, stop right there.
Instead, go for something basic, but accurate.
The accuracy of your readings has nothing to do with the price of the device.
Factor 4: Accuracy
It’s not easy to judge whether the readings of the monitor are accurate.
You should consider following these three main guidelines, to make things simpler.
The first one is to avoid all smartphone apps that claim to monitor blood pressure.
These haven’t been backed up by research yet.
The second, is to go for devices that take three consecutive readings.
Taking three consecutive blood pressure readings, means they’re trying to be as accurate as possible, by taking an average of the three readings, instead of relying on just one blood pressure reading.
The third is to take the device to your doctor’s office, and compare it with the one you see there.
If the reading of your monitor is within ten points of the other, you’re good to go.
Factor 5: Ease of Use
You’re buying a device that you’re likely to use every few days, so it should be easy to use.
Consider using automated cuffs, over manual cuffs.
Avoid bulky devices.
A stethoscope-based monitor could also be hard to use.
If possible, go for digital monitors that are easy to read.
The ones that provide a printout, could also make your life simpler.
In summary, choosing the best blood pressure monitor could be tough.
But putting it off altogether, and just getting your blood pressure checked at the doctor office, won’t be frequent enough.
Using an accurate, pocket-friendly, and easy-to-use device, will make taking your blood pressure a lot easier, so you’ll do it more frequently.