Many health practitioners have recommended for years that some patients closely monitor their own blood pressure at home. That trend continues to increase, particularly for people with diabetes or kidney disease. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals monitor their blood pressure at home, particularly those who have only the slightly elevated blood pressure of prehypertension. Home monitoring helps to establish a record that can assist a doctor in diagnosing high blood pressure – hypertension – earlier than would be possible without the record provided by home monitoring.
Home monitoring also assists in assessing current treatment for high blood pressure. Those who make lifestyle changes, begin treatment or switch medications should be monitoring blood pressure at home to assess the effects of those changes. A record based on home monitoring can help care providers adjust dosages or even change to another type of medication.
Some have said that digital blood pressure monitors often read higher than traditional manual styles, but others hold that the reverse is true. The bottom line is that the type of blood pressure monitor you choose for your own use should be based on your own preference. Traditional cuff and bulb designs can be difficult to use without assistance. Digital styles generally are easier to use. Either can be “off” in their results, however. The best thing to do is to choose the style that suits your preference and then take it with you to your next doctor appointment to have its results compared to those from the doctor office’s equipment that is regularly calibrated and known to be accurate.
Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor from Omron – Model Number BP742N 5 Series – Comes with Cuff that fits average sized arms as well as for the Larger person
This blood pressure monitor is a digital style that is highly accurate and very easy to use. You place the cuff on your arm, press the start button and the unit does everything else. It returns blood pressure reading as well as pulse rate. An added benefit is that it alerts the user if it detects any abnormal heartbeat patterns. The monitor stores up to 100 readings for more than one person. It operates on four AA batteries that last a long time as long as you remember to turn off the unit every time. There’s also an optional adapter available that avoids the need for batteries at all.
This is another highly accurate digital monitor that both health professionals and regular people praise. It also is accurate and easy to use; the difference with this one is that the cuff goes around your wrist rather than your upper arm. Arm cuff size is important for accurate readings but the wrist cuff style is more adaptable for larger people. The monitor stores only the most recent reading in memory so it’s important to write down results after each use.
Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor and comes with Bluetooth Smart Connectivity – Omron 10 Series – Cuff that fits all adult arm sizes – ( Model No. BP786/BP786N)
The era of the smartphone has come to home blood pressure monitoring. This is a digital style that uses an arm cuff. It has the ability to store 100 readings internally, but the manufacturer also provides a free app that works with many iOS and Android devices. Adding a smartphone to the mix allows storage of up to 200 readings for more than one person and great convenience in reporting reading history to your care provider.
This is a traditional cuff and bulb blood pressure monitor. The cuff attaches with Velcro and the user inflates the cuff by pumping the bulb until the cuff reaches proper inflation. Reading blood pressure this way requires the use of a stethoscope, which is not included. Medical professionals, nursing students and individuals replacing a similar monitor already have a stethoscope but others will need to purchase one separately.
Omron 3 Series – Model BP710N – Blood Pressure Monitor for Upper Arm and Comes with Cuff that fits all adult arm sizes
In terms of function, Omron’s 3 Series monitor operates exactly in the same way as its 5 Series monitor. It is accurate and allows simple one-touch operation after correctly placing the arm cuff. The primary difference is that this model stores only 14 readings and it operates only on four AA batteries without an adapter option. It also alerts the presence of any irregular heartbeat. Users report that 17 inches absolutely is the upper range of arm size, however. The cuff appears to be unforgiving for arms larger than that and may come loose when inflating.
Unlike other digital styles, this monitor arrives with the four AAA batteries it requires and has a two year guarantee. Further, it has greater data storage capacity than most other digital monitors. It will store reading for two people and up to 500 total measurements. The “one size fits most” cuff is rated for arms from 8.75 inches to 16.5 inches in circumference, so it’s possible that it does not accommodate very large arms as well as some others. Its screen does have a backlight that others lack, however, making it much easier to read.
This blood pressure monitor is a manual style that departs from the standard black color. It’s a bright purple that definitely makes it easy to find in a supply bag. Unlike other manual monitors, this one comes with a stethoscope and so is ready to use right away. Some practitioners prefer the double tube design of the Sprague style stethoscope while others don’t like it at all. Again, it’s a matter of preference because each style delivers results. This is a very good option for those who want a manual blood pressure monitor.
Here is a wrist blood pressure monitor with a twist. A common complaint about wrist styles is that they don’t always provide accurate readings. The manufacturer explains that accuracy depends on having your wrist approximately level with your heart. This monitor has indicator lights to guide you to achieving proper alignment with your heart. When a blue light appears, your wrist is at the right level and the monitor activates automatically. It also can store 100 readings in memory.
MatchMates Combination Kit – Comes in Black and with 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope and a Mabis Aneroid Sphygmomanometer
The healthcare professionals who don’t like the Sprague style stethoscope favor Littman, the industry standard. This manual blood pressure monitor includes a Littman stethoscope as well as a carrying case that accommodates the cuff, gauge and stethoscope all in one neat package. Many manual models include a carrying case but not all are large enough for a stethoscope too.
In every case, the upper range of standard arm cuff size generally is 17 inches. In some cases, the 17-inch rating is not accurate and users report that the cuff detaches on inflation and cannot be used on 17 inch arms. Obesity is a huge issue today, however, and very overweight people need to keep a closer eye on blood pressure than many others. This thigh-size cuff can be used on the thigh, of course, but it also is useful for those with arms larger than 17 inches in circumference. This product has strong Velcro but does not include a stethoscope. You’ll need to purchase that separately if you don’t already have one.