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How to choose a blood pressure (BP) monitor

Knowing your blood pressure can help you prevent high blood pressure or stroke. You can track your blood pressure at home by using a home monitor between consultations. To know what home monitor is best for you, ask for a recommendation from your doctor.

Know your options

Heart attack can happen anytime, so its better to have your own blood pressure unit to check your blood pressure if you don’t feel well. Aneroid models are affordable and convenient to use for transport. It comes with a stethoscope. Some of these have extra-large dials for easier reading. However, aneroid is not recommended if you have trouble hearing or if you have poor skills with your hands. The most popular yet expensive ones are the electronic or digital models that are very easy to use. However, electronic models can give you inaccurate readings when your heartbeat is irregular. Wrist monitors are hard to evaluate or determine and digital finger units aren’t reliable.

Get a good fit

Most of the monitors have a standard-size inflatable arm cuff. If your arm is too long or extra small for the cuff, purchase a size that is right for your arm. This is because poor fit reduces accuracy. The inflatable portion of the cuff should wrap around 80 percent or more of your upper arm. 

Consider your abilities

Before checking your blood pressure, make sure that you are capable of using it and reading it. Check if you can read and easily see the display on the monitor. Can you hear clearly through a stethoscope? Can you easily pump the inflatable cuff? If not, try to look for a person that is more capable to do these things for the safety of the user. 

Test before you buy

Ask your health provider or medical supplies sales representative on how to get the right and accurate reading.

Learn how to use it properly

After you purchase a blood pressure monitor, take it with you to your doctor’s office to check if the device works. Let the doctor or nurse teach you on how to use and get the right results of your blood pressure.

Check accuracy

Have your home monitor checked against a standardized unit at your doctor’s office, fire department or public health service. Do this every six to 12 months.