How to Choose Your Blood Pressure Monitor

A blood pressure monitor is a device for measuring blood pressure. Automatic monitors are easier to use than manual ones. Let's see how they work.
How to Choose Your Blood Pressure Monitor

Last update: 15 May, 2021

A blood pressure monitor is a device that helps you monitor your blood pressure. There are two types of blood pressure monitors: Manual and automatic.

Various factors can affect a person’s blood pressure. For example, these may be stress, medication, or various diseases.

Remember that the values experts consider normal for a healthy adult at rest are 120 mmHg for systolic or maximum pressure. Meanwhile, normal diastolic or minimum pressure is 80 mmHg.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to choose a blood pressure monitor for home use.

How does a manual blood pressure monitor work?

A doctor taking a man's blood pressure.

This type of blood pressure monitor is one in which you insufflate by pressing the knob of the blood pressure monitor to cause the cuff to fill with air. Once it fills sufficiently, you’ll hear the beeps that mark the maximum and minimum blood pressure with a stethoscope.

Performing this process correctly requires some training to get a good measurement. One factor to consider when going to a professional to measure your blood pressure is what we call the “white coat syndrome” or hypertension. Here, tension increases due to the nervousness of going for a consultation and being in with a doctor.

This could lead to a false diagnosis of hypertension. But you can avoid it by self-measuring your blood pressure at various times of the day for several days. With this data, your doctor will be able to make an assessment and establish a more reliable diagnosis.

What type of automatic blood pressure monitor should I choose?

Automatic blood pressure monitors are easier to use than manual ones. Once you put them on, all you have to do is press a button to blow air into the device.

Once the measurement is complete, the maximum and minimum pressure and the number of beats per minute will appear on the screen. So, in just a few minutes you can know your blood pressure.

There are two types of automatic blood pressure monitors depending on the part of the body where you place them:

  • On the arm
  • On the wrist

Upper arm blood pressure monitors

Upper arm blood pressure monitors have a cuff that’s placed on the arm by matching the measurement area just slightly above the elbow. Then you have to fasten the cuff with velcro for a fit that’s not too tight.

Wrist blood pressure monitors

Wrist devices are smaller, have the size of a wide wristband, and must be adjusted to fit at the wrist. They offer the advantage of size. Being small, they take up little space, which can be convenient and practical.

What aspects do I have to consider?

A doctor taking a woman's blood pressure with an automatic monitor.

Blood pressure monitors have different features, including those listed below:

  • Size of screen and text: It’s easier to read when the screen’s large. This way, you can see the result of the measurement comfortably, especially in elderly people.
  • Battery and electric operation: To prevent you from finding yourself with a dead battery and no spare, a good option is for the device to have the option of electric operation.
  • Alarm warning system at the start and/or end of the measurement: If the blood pressure monitor notifies you when the measurement is finished, then there will be no room for errors. Remember that, while the measurement is being made, you must be still and without talking.
  • Memory or recording system: Some blood pressure monitors allow you to record the measurement taken. This way, it automatically saves the measurement record, which can be useful for keeping track and avoiding errors when manually writing down the results.

When should I take my blood pressure?

Blood pressure measurement varies throughout the day. In the morning, before getting up, is when values should be at their lowest. Then, during the day and when you start your daily activity, the values tend to increase.

To keep track of your blood pressure, it’s important to record the average of the different measurements taken at different times of the day.

Conclusion

In many cases, going to a professional to take a blood pressure measurement can be complicated for different reasons. In these cases, you can resort to automatic blood pressure monitors to facilitate the control of this important health parameter.

After obtaining the corresponding measurements, you must show them to a professional. By analyzing the records, your doctor will be able to diagnose high blood pressure or rule out that you have this problem.

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