Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home
Doctors recommend taking regular blood pressure readings, and for that, you need a blood pressure monitor at home. There’s a wide range of devices you can choose from, but it’s essential to get one that suits you best. Not only should it be the right type, but also the right size! Here are five tips to help you choose the right blood pressure monitor for your home.
1. Get the Right Cuff Size
Getting the right blood pressure monitor involves having the best fit, which mainly depends on your cuff size. Everyone has a different-sized arm, so make sure you get one that fits you perfectly.
But what’s a perfect fit? Ideally, there should be a snug grip around the arm with barely enough space to slide in two fingertips under the cuff.
Most blood pressure monitors come with an average cuff size to fit as many users as possible. However, if you find it to be too tight or too loose, you’ll have to invest in the right-sized cuff separately.
2. Get a BP Monitor With an Upper Cuff
Some blood pressure monitors come with a cuff for your upper arm, while some can measure it with a wrap around your wrist. We’d suggest going for an upper cuff BP monitor. According to this Healthline article, blood pressure readings tend to skew higher with wrist monitors.
The cheapest upper cuff monitors start at around £20, so you’ll most likely be able to find one that matches your budget. Once you have it, make sure you keep it clean and sterile for safe use. Here’s an in-depth blood pressure cuff maintenance guide to help you out.
3. Talk to Your Doctor
Sometimes your doctor can also lend you a suitable blood pressure monitor if necessary for your condition. For instance, if they ask you to measure your BP at home due to hypertension risks, they might hand you a spare monitor for some time.
4. Make Sure It’s Approved
Reliable blood pressure monitors are approved for use in your country by public authorities — for instance, the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS) in the UK. This validation represents the monitor’s accuracy and compliance with quality standards, so look for it when you’re in the market!
Pro Tip: Get It Serviced Regularly
Blood pressure monitors must be maintained, serviced, and regularly calibrated to ensure accurate readings. While maintenance and cleaning occur at home, you should get it serviced by a professional at least once every two years. It generally involves sending the monitor back to the manufacturer, who service it for a small fee. It’s sometimes more practical to just buy a new one if it’s too expensive or complicated to get it serviced.
According to the British Health Foundation, normal blood pressure is under 140/90. For people with diabetes, circulatory or heart disease, BP should be under 130/80.
Even if you consistently get higher readings, only a licensed doctor can diagnose you with high blood pressure. The best you can do is maintain a log of your readings and see your doctor if you’re getting high readings for several days. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, get help immediately.