Home Blood Pressure Monitor
Safeguards Your Health
Your blood pressure changes throughout the day in response to many different factors.If you have high blood pressure, it can be beneficial to you and your doctor if you buy a home blood pressure monitors so you can take your readings at home everyday and write them down.
This allows you to take your notes with you to the doctor so he can see how your blood pressure fluctuates over time. Fortunately, you can buy a home blood pressure monitor for an affordable price and they are easy to use. There are three main types of home blood pressure monitors and each has its own advantages. There are aneroid monitors, digital monitors, and wrist models.
Aneroid Blood Pressure Monitors
You are probably familiar with this type of blood pressure monitor since it is most commonly used in doctors’ offices and medical clinics. It consists of the arm band, rubber bladder with hand pump, and stethoscope. To use one of these, you wrap the cuff around your arm and squeeze the hand bulb so the bladder inside the cuff fills with air.
The stethoscope must be properly positioned over the artery in your arm with the end pieces in your ears. The stethoscope is placed over the bend, or crease, in your elbow. For the best listening results, make sure the ear pieces face forward. You then slowly turn a knob in the hand bulb that releases air while watching the dial. As soon as you hear the first heart beat, read the dial for your fist blood pressure number. You will continue to hear beats as you deflate the cuff. When the beats stop, read the number on the dial again for your second number.
Aneroid monitors are accurate and inexpensive, but they are the most complicated to operate, especially if you are taking blood pressure readings on yourself.
Digital Blood Pressure Monitors
Digital home blood pressure monitors are more popular because they are easier to use. They are more expensive, but the price varies according to the features the unit has. For instance, some digital monitors have automatic cuffs that inflate and deflate at the push of a button.
Others have standard cuffs you must manually pump and deflate. You don’t have to listen for heart beats though, because digital monitors take the readings for you and display the results in a digital readout. You can store your readings and then print out a report when it is time to see your doctor.
These home blood pressure monitors are not as accurate as the aneroid models since movement or irregular heart rhythms can affect readings.
Wrist Home Blood Pressure Monitors — The wrist and fingertip blood pressure monitors are the most convenient and easiest to use so they are appealing, however they are the least accurate. Many things can influence the results you get including temperature and your body position. Not only that, they are more expensive than the other blood pressure monitors.
Buying A Blood Pressure Monitor?
Price may be a determining factor when it comes time to buy a blood pressure for home use. You can buy an aneroid monitor for around $20 and a low end digital blood pressure monitor for around $30. If you want advanced features, you should expect to pay more. Be sure you will be able to operate your chosen monitor. You will need dexterity and hand strength to operate the hand bulb on a manual cuff. You also need average hearing if you plan to use the stethoscope in order to get accurate readings.
Don’t forget to look for the appropriate cuff size as well. If you are overweight or have very muscular arms, you may need an extra large size cuff. Children and frail adults require a pediatric cuff.
Using A Home Blood Pressure Monitor Correctly
When you buy a new blood pressure monitor, take it with you to your doctor’s visit so the nurse can show you how to properly use it. Your monitor should be checked for accuracy by comparing readings against a monitor at the doctor’s office. You should bring your monitor in for an accuracy check at least once per year.
Protect your monitor from extreme temperatures so the rubber tubing doesn’t crack. You should periodically check the parts of your monitor and its tubing to look for tiny cracks and leaks. Store your equipment securely so it doesn’t get dropped or broken and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance.
For the most accurate results, don’t drink alcohol or caffeine, eat, or smoke for at least thirty minutes before you take a blood pressure reading. You should also rest quietly for a few minutes before taking a reading, and don’t talk during the procedure. Wrap the cuff around your arm so it is snug but not too tight. You should be able to slip one finger under the cuff. Check to make sure the bottom of the cuff is about one inch above the crease in your elbow.
What The Results Mean
A blood pressure monitor measures the force of blood against your artery walls. The top number of a blood pressure reading measures your systolic pressure, or the highest pressure when your heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure, or the pressure against your artery walls when your heart is at rest.
|Systolic (first/top number)||Diastolic (second/bottom number)|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|High blood pressure: Stage 1*||140–159||90–99|
|High blood pressure: Stage 2||160 or higher||100 or over|
|*If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.|
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Pre hypertension is indicated with systolic readings of 120-139 and diastolic readings from 80-89. Stage 1 hypertension is considered when systolic readings are 140-159 and diastolic readings are 90-99. Patients with Stage 2 high blood pressure have systolic readings over 160 and/or diastolic readings over 100.
High blood pressure can have dangerous consequences such as heart disease and stroke. You can have high blood pressure and not even know it since you might not have any symptoms until it is too late. Whether you have high blood pressure or not, you should have your readings checked periodically to make sure no new problems are developing. If you have high blood pressure, or are at risk for it, investing in a home blood pressure monitor and using it regularly can help safeguard your health.