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Blood pressure monitors for home

Hypertension - home monitoring

 

Information

Your health care provider may ask you to keep track of your blood pressure at home. To do this, you will need to get a home blood pressure monitor. The monitor you choose should be of good quality and fit well.

MANUAL BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS

  • Manual devices include a cuff that wraps around your arm, a rubber squeeze bulb, and a gauge that measures the blood pressure. A stethoscope is needed to listen to the blood pulsing through the artery.
  • You can see your blood pressure on the circular dial of the gauge as the needle moves around and the pressure in the cuff rises or falls.
  • When used correctly, manual devices are very accurate. However, they are not the recommended type of blood pressure monitor for home use.

DIGITAL BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS

  • A digital device will also have a cuff that wraps around your arm. To inflate the cuff, you may need to use a rubber squeeze ball. Other kinds will inflate automatically when you push a button.
  • After the cuff is inflated, the pressure will slowly drop on its own. The screen will show a digital readout of your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
  • After showing your blood pressure, the cuff will deflate on its own. With most machines, you must wait for 2 to 3 minutes before using it again.
  • A digital blood pressure monitor will not be as accurate if your body is moving when you are using it. Also, an irregular heart rate will make the reading less accurate. However, digital monitors are the best choice for most people.

TIPS FOR MONITORING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

  • Practice using the monitor with your health care provider to make sure you are taking your blood pressure correctly.
  • Your arm should be supported, with your upper arm at heart level and feet on the floor (back supported, legs uncrossed).
  • It is best to measure your blood pressure after you rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • DO NOT take your blood pressure when you are under stress, have had caffeine, or used a tobacco product in the last 30 minutes, or have recently exercised.

 

References

Victor RG. Arterial hypertension In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 67.

Victor RG. Systemic hypertension: mechanisms and diagnosis. In: Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, et al. eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 43.

 
  • Tracking your blood pressure at home

    Animation

  •  

    Tracking your blood pressure at home - Animation

    Following your blood pressure at home has gotten a lot easier in the last few years. I'm Dr. Alan Greene. I'd like to share with you a little bit about that. Not too long ago when you wanted to follow your blood pressure at home, you had to have the old fashion sphygmomometer, and the device was a complex as that word sounds. You had to pump something up, and put a stethoscope in your ears, and fumble all these different tubes and even so wouldn't get a very accurate reading. Now, there are simple, high quality, digital blood pressure cuffs. They're easy to use at home. They're built so they snap on the arm very easily, just press a single button, and the chip inside does the work for you. It blows it up, it gives you the reading, and some of the newer models even connect it to your PC and track the readings for you. Now, how accurate are they? They're really pretty good. I wouldn't trust a single reading that much if you get one that's high or low. I wouldn't be either reassured or panicked. But, I would trust the pattern of readings. So, if you have one that tracks it for you, that's great, if not, just write them down what date and time you took it and see what the pattern is over time. If there's anything of concern, be sure to report it to your physician.

  • Tracking your blood pressure at home

    Animation

  •  

    Tracking your blood pressure at home - Animation

    Following your blood pressure at home has gotten a lot easier in the last few years. I'm Dr. Alan Greene. I'd like to share with you a little bit about that. Not too long ago when you wanted to follow your blood pressure at home, you had to have the old fashion sphygmomometer, and the device was a complex as that word sounds. You had to pump something up, and put a stethoscope in your ears, and fumble all these different tubes and even so wouldn't get a very accurate reading. Now, there are simple, high quality, digital blood pressure cuffs. They're easy to use at home. They're built so they snap on the arm very easily, just press a single button, and the chip inside does the work for you. It blows it up, it gives you the reading, and some of the newer models even connect it to your PC and track the readings for you. Now, how accurate are they? They're really pretty good. I wouldn't trust a single reading that much if you get one that's high or low. I wouldn't be either reassured or panicked. But, I would trust the pattern of readings. So, if you have one that tracks it for you, that's great, if not, just write them down what date and time you took it and see what the pattern is over time. If there's anything of concern, be sure to report it to your physician.

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

      Tests for Blood pressure monitors for home

       

       

      Review Date: 5/3/2015

      Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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