Blood Pressure Monitors to Use at Home
The capacity to do basic health treatments at home has become a requirement as more and more health appointments are conducted virtually. Taking blood pressure is one of them.
Blood pressure should be monitored since long-term excessive blood pressure can damage arteries and the heart. It's possible to check blood pressure to see if medicines are needed.
If you do need to keep track of your blood pressure for whatever reason, choose which monitor to use might be difficult.
If you have any queries regarding blood pressure monitoring, you should always see your doctor, but we've created a list of blood pressure monitors that may be useful in your search.
How do blood pressure monitors work?
Blood pressure monitors operate by inflating a cuff until blood flow via the brachial artery is momentarily stopped. The cuff's pressure is then gradually removed.
A sensor in the cuff measures blood flow. The systolic blood pressure (the top number) is the point at which blood begins to flow sporadically through the artery, and the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is the point at which blood flow shifts from intermittent to constant (the bottom number).
While measuring blood flow, the monitor may also compute your heart rate. Fortunately, all you have to do now is check the final figures.
How to choose the right Blood Pressure Machine
If you decide to measure your blood pressure at home, you might be given a monitor by the hospital or GP surgery, but you will probably need to buy a home monitor.
There are a wide range of home blood pressure monitors available, which can seem confusing. The most important thing is to make sure it gives you accurate results and is easy to use.
Whatever monitor you choose, make sure that it is:
- Clinically validated – this means it has been tested and gives results that you can trust
- Automatic with an upper arm or wrist cuff – these are the easiest to use and most reliable
- Budget friendly to you – you don’t need to go for an expensive machine, it just needs to be clinically validated and easy to use
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
Blood pressure categories
The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
Elevated blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control the condition.
Hypertension Stage 1
Hypertension Stage 1 is when blood pressure consistently ranges from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as heart attack or stroke.
Hypertension Stage 2
Hypertension Stage 2 is when blood pressure consistently ranges at 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.
This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and then test your blood pressure again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own.