The Ultimate Guide To Blood Pressure Monitors
There are numerous types of home blood pressure monitors. At the Blood Pressure Association, consumers are advised to choose a monitor that is clinically validated by the British or American Hypertension Society. This validation will require a digital monitor to undergo a series of tests before being sold to ensure it provides accurate results.
Upper-arm monitors use a cuff which is wrapped around your arm and are generally considered to be the most accurate monitoring device.
However, if the cuff is not the right size, it can cause an incorrect blood pressure reading.
Measure the size of your upper arm at the point between your elbow and shoulder. Standard monitors have medium sized cuffs by default, but if your arm is larger or smaller than average then the appropriately sized cuff will need to be ordered separately.
Mercury monitors have for many years been the standard equipment for measuring blood pressure. A mercury reader is easy to read, durable and does not require any adjustments. A mercury sphygmomanometer has a basic mechanism that uses gravity to provide accurate and consistent readings. The design uses a tubular, long gauge made from plastic or glass. As a safety precaution, glass tubes should be protectively wrapped to keep them from breaking.
Although this device provides accurate readings, the Blood Pressure Association does not recommend it for home use since mercury has several health hazards. However, there are models designed for home use that are relatively safe. It may have an attached stethoscope and D-ring cuff for convenient measurement. This device can last a lifetime and does not require much maintenance.
Aneroid equipment is lightweight, cheap and more portable than mercury readers. An aneroid gauge can function in any position, but the results are not as accurate as mercury or automatic readers. Some models feature an extra-large, easy-to-read gauge with an attached or built-in stethoscope. For increased reading accuracy, an aneroid device may also have a self-bleeding deflation valve. This device is fairly delicate and a little complicated to use, but it is perhaps the most convenient gauge to have around.
Automatic monitors consist of a single unit, so less dexterity is required than other readers that use a separate stethoscope and gauge. This device is incredibly easy to use and is designed to work around human error, making it the perfect product for patients with vision or hearing loss. Most automatic units are portable and feature a D cuff ring for one-handed use. The cuff can fit either on the wrist or on the arm, depending on your size. Costlier models have automatic deflation and inflation capabilities, reading printouts, built-in heart rates and a digital display indicator.
Wrist or Finger Monitors
Studies have shown that wrist or finger devices do not measure blood pressure as accurately as armbands. These measuring devices are highly sensitive to body temperature and position and are often more expensive than other standard monitors are. If you are unsure about which cuff size to get, ask a pharmacist, nurse, or doctor for help.
Normal blood pressure comes in at 120/80 or lower. A patient with high blood pressure will score 140/90 or higher, while a person who measures between 120/80 and 140/90 will have a condition called "prehypertension", which means you are at risk of getting high blood pressure. Only your doctor can determine whether you have high blood pressure. You will need to take several measurements at different times of the day to get a truly accurate reading. If your home monitor is displaying abnormal results, consult your doctor immediately.
Once you have purchased a monitor, bring it to your doctor to check its accuracy. the Blood Pressure Association recommends that you get your monitor checked once every year to make sure it is still accurate. Proper storage and maintenance of the device is also necessary. Make sure the tubing is not twisted and be sure to keep the machine away from heat. If you use it regularly, keep an eye out for leaks and cracks.
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