A blood pressure measurement is probably one of the most critical routine tests you will have to take whenever you visit your health center. Therefore, instead of checking into a hospital to measure blood pressure every month, people are shifting to using blood pressure monitors at home.
However, it is essential to know about the concept of blood pressure before we look into the best blood pressure monitors available. Also, those who know how to check blood pressure at home are much appreciated because it’s highly beneficial.
Now, let’s dig into what is actually blood pressure, why checking it is necessary, and then which are the best monitors to do that.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood in our body is pumped by the heart through the aid of blood vessels. This not only helps to deliver oxygen but also other nutrients to our tissues.
When the heart contracts and relaxes, that is how this pumping action happens. Deoxygenated or impure blood is received by the right side of the heart, specifically the right atrium. When the blood fills the right atrium, it contracts, and the blood flows into the right ventricle (another part of the heart). From here, the blood is forced into the lungs with the help of the pulmonary vein.
The lung oxygenates the blood and sends it back to the heart. The left atrium receives it, and when it contracts, blood flows into the left ventricle. After this, the main artery –the aorta carries this oxy-rich blood and distributes it to the rest of the body.
When the heart contracts and relaxes, there is a pressure of blood built in the arteries. This pressure is called blood pressure. Only due to this pressure, the blood moves through the circulatory system to other parts of the body.
It is not uncommon for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day depending on the activities you perform. However, extremely high blood pressure may occur, and this condition is known as hypertension. If this condition continues, you may have a risk of dangerous health problems such as a stroke, a heart attack, or other heart diseases.
How is Blood Pressure Measured?
First and foremost, it is essential to know that there are two types of blood pressure.
When your heart is pumping blood, there is pressure inside your arteries. This pressure is known as systolic blood pressure. On the other hand, diastolic blood pressure is named to the pressure when there is a rest between your heartbeats.
Blood pressure is expressed in two digits; for instance, less than 120/80 mmHg is normal blood pressure. In this figure, the lower digit i.e., 80 mmHg, is the diastolic pressure – the pressure created when the heart is resting. And 120mmHg is the systolic pressure or more easily put; the blood pressure exerted when the heart contracts.
For the heart to be able to work normally, your arteries are supposed to be healthy and dilated. In case your arteries are too stiff or narrow, blood pressure may rise, and the heart will have to overwork. As a result, there is a risk of artery damage.
Every professional uses different guidelines to find out an increase in blood pressure.
If a patient’s blood pressure is continuously higher than 140/90 mm Hg, some health care professionals may diagnose this patient with high blood pressure. At the same time, others will consider 130/80 mmHg a high enough blood pressure to diagnose the patient with high blood pressure.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure rises due to many reasons, some of which are not even in our control. In fact, out of 90% of cases of blood pressure, one is always for an unknown reason. These are called cases of primary blood pressure.
Other reasons may include kidney issues such as a kidney infection or kidney stones. High Blood pressure is also associated with hormonal and endocrine disorders. Moreover, it is common for pregnant women and women who take birth control pills to be a victim of high blood pressure.
One of the main factors influencing blood pressure is smoking, caffeine intake, exercise, emotional response, and excess alcohol. One’s age and family history play an important role as well.
Finally, blood pressure is linked with one is lifestyle and eating habits. A person who has a habit of consuming much salt will definitely show signs of hypertension.
According to studies, people who have a lesser intake of salt have rarely been diagnosed with hypertension. Therefore, taking enough care of intake of salt will improve blood pressure readings drastically.
Measuring Blood Pressure at Home
In order to measure blood pressure, normally a sphygmomanometer is used.
Usually, at the health center, a cuff is put around your arm, which is inflated to the point that the blood circulation is stopped. Then a valve is used to deflate this cuff, and the pressure is released at a slow pace. The practitioner then places a stethoscope around your arm and carefully listens to the sound of the movement of blood through the arteries.
The sound that is heard first is of the systolic blood pressure. As soon as this sound fades away, the second sound indicates the diastolic pressure. The numbers are then noted down.
People with high blood pressure issues, or even people who just like keeping track of their BP, find it tiring to go to the hospital every week. Also, if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, regularly monitoring blood pressure is a life-saver. In point of fact, it is one of the few things a doctor will tell you to do.
Therefore, investing some of your savings in a blood pressure monitor can be a very wise step.
By keeping a record of your weekly blood pressure readings, you can provide your doctor with enough material for examining your condition. It can be anything from a chronic health problem to determining your present physical fitness level. In fact, keeping a check of your BP regularly can help you learn to control your condition and even improve it over time, as shown by the studies.
Factors to Consider when Buying Blood Pressure Monitors
You can easily use monitors at home. They are very helpful and economical for patients with unsteady or high blood pressure. But the question is, how do you pick the best blood pressure monitor when there are tons of being sold in the market?
Dr. Oen-Hsiao states, for patients with arrhythmia, the best blood pressure monitors are the ones with arrhythmia detectors in them. This helps the patient by notifying them whenever they have an irregular heartbeat.
Besides this, if you have a huge family, it is conducive to use a device that can store blood pressure readings.
The size of the cuff is the most important thing to consider when buying a monitor, according to American Heart Association. The size relates to the circumference of your upper arm.
You might get inaccurate readings if the cuff does not fit properly around your arm. Hence, make sure to get a monitor with a good cuff size.
To get the best size, Dr. Oen proposes to start by measuring the circumference of your upper arm. This measurement should be in centimeters. Then, the number taken out after the measurement is to be multiplied by 80% to find out the cuff’s length.
Lastly, the measured circumference should be multiplied by 40% to get the actual cuff’s width.
5 Best Blood Pressure Monitors Available
The Omron Platinum
The Omron Platinum is on the top of our list as the best blood pressure monitors to use at home, thanks to its advanced accuracy and uncomplicated features. Pharmacists and doctors have recommended Omron as the No 1 blood pressure monitor selling company. Ormon has not dissatisfied and has held the title for over 40 years.
For precise results, this blood pressure monitor consists of TruRead technology and advanced averaging. Advanced averaging helps to remove inconsistency by giving an average of your three consecutive results.
Due to its free mobile app, you can pair your Omron Platinum with your smartphone using Bluetooth. Also, you can store as many readings as you like, which will make it easy for you to keep track of the results. Later you can share these readings with your doctor whenever needed. This app is really user-friendly; all you need to do is get the hang of it.
The cuff of this particular device is designed in a way that it can fit most people. With no wires and cables to this device, it can be carried around with ease as there is no need to plug it and tangling is impossible. The checkup is extremely easy and quick, too, because of this.
The Omron Platinum is able to accommodate two users at a time and can easily keep a record of both the readings, which makes it really facilitating for a large household. Its dual backlit screen is very simple to read and also displays old readings on the side for you to compare.
This feature helps patients understand the change in their blood pressure and how factors like physical activity or stress can have an impact on it.
This device does not only have the ability to measure your present blood pressure figure with the ones already stored in the memory, but it also issues a warning if anything is out of the norm. The device can give an alert if there is any kind of abnormality in the diastolic or systolic measurement.
An alert like this is particularly accommodating at times when the risk of a stroke or a heart attack is higher. As a result, users can immediately seek medical assistance as they get further awareness about their condition, which can be life-threatening as well.
Greater Goods BP Monitor
Greater Goods blood pressure monitor kit comes with everything you need to make tracking heart health over time as simple as possible. You can easily keep up with your systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as your pulse using this device.
Its large backlit display is as easier to read as it can get. The only real issue about this particular monitor is that, as compared to other monitors on the market, it has low memory storage. It cannot store a large number of readings, but if that doesn’t trouble you, this blood pressure cuff is a great investment.
Customers of Greater Good BP Monitor sing praises for its precision.
The numbers and buttons on its large LCD screen are big, so it is extremely user-friendly. Most online customers are very satisfied with this monitor’s accuracy, so a patient can fully have faith in the result of this device.
Omron Evolv is one of the most popular Blood Pressure monitors among customers. It’s an all-in-one device with the control and display fixed on the cuff itself, which makes it look as aesthetic as it sounds. Also, due to this, Omron is easy to put on and is very light weighted.
There are no wires or cables to Omron Evolv, but most importantly, like other monitors, you do not need a smartphone to see your results – the screen will display the results. The device does connect with your phone through Bluetooth but is only there for you to access additional features through their application.
Its cuff is pre-formed (you have to slip a ring around your arm), and it is extremely easy to set it over your upper arm. Measurement is also simple. All you have to do is to press the start button, and the inflation will start.
The Evolv is proven clinically. By accessing data points, it claims to achieve perfect readings than most other monitors. This lets it avoid routine interference that may occur from arm movements of the patient.
It also comes with a warranty of five years and operates on AAA batteries.
The only downside to this device is sometimes the readings are hard to read because they can be small for some customers. Also, even though the screen is backlit, it cannot be read properly as the screen is attached with the cuff (which at the time is on your arm).
Even though A&D UA-767F does not have a backlit display and is a monitor that is able to save blood pressure readings for only four people maximum, it still has many good points about it.
Aside from being user-friendly, this monitor offers cuff-fit error messages, which help you remove errors even before you start monitoring. It can also prevent errors in the readings because of the fact it has a body movement sensor. Additionally, A&D can store up to 240 measurements.
The A&D Connect mobile app can help you keep store your blood pressure readings, and people who share the device with you can also keep a track of the readings. It also has a manageable interface. This particular monitor takes no time in presenting the reading, so if you like writing down everything, this will help you.
A&D has a five-year warranty and also supports several users at a time. Besides this, the monitor can store at a maximum of 60 readings.
Withings BPM Connect
The Withings BPM Connect comes ready in its very own case. It connects with your phone with an excellent smartphone app that is easy to use, and the information presented is very understandable. This app has amazing customer reviews as well.
Withings BPM Connect has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to sync results. Because of this, your results can be stored online and makes it easy to share your results with the doctor. In case your phone is far away, there is nothing to worry about: the results will be uploaded to your cloud through Wi-Fi, and you can access them later.
That being said, the mobile app has arranged useful additional services for your results, too; it can work with your iPhone’s Health App so that you can merge your BP results with other health activities and share the results with your doctor.
In addition to that, this monitor arrives validated, and FDA cleared right out of the box.
The con of this device is that it is costly, considering it only holds eight readings.
Other Blood Pressure Monitors
This monitor scores the highest when it comes to comfort level and large, easy-to-read screen. Beurer BM55 notifies whenever there is an irregular pulse, and it also has the ability to average the results.
As compared to other devices, accessing these and many other functions is much less complicated on the BM55. Even though the screen gets unlit a few minutes after the reading is displayed, the result still remains on the screen for an adequate amount of time.
A carrying case comes with the device, so with it, it is easy to travel.
Paramed Professional Manual Blood Pressure Cuff
The most traditional and old-school monitor is the Paramed Professional Manual Blood Pressure Cuff. It has an air pump as well as an analog gauge.
The cuff wraps around your arm, and the air pump has to be squeezed – an old-school way.
The monitor is quite easy to use for those who have been using old monitors for years. But the best part about this device is that it is extremely affordable. However, due to analog gauge, it may not be hard to understand for many as there are no alerts or digital monitoring systems.
Synology’s digital arm monitor
With a low price, this monitor is phenomenal. It offers you multiple features and is easy to use. With a large and widescreen, it operates with a single click. Moreover, it can also detect an irregular heartbeat and alert the patient.
Synology’s digital arm monitor can store up to 90 readings and runs on AAA batteries. The only downside to this monitor is that it may be slow as compared to other models; it displays a single reading in 1 minute.
How to measure blood pressure accurately?
If you are new to self-measurement, it is important for you to make sure of a few things because you buy a monitor. These are a few requirements:
- You need an approved device, serviced from time to time, and re-calibrated after every six months. Good for you; we mentioned many of the best at-home blood pressure monitors!
- You need proper practical instructions from a professional.
- Keep written instructions with you whenever monitoring your blood pressure to avoid errors.
- Always follow-up appointments to ensure you are using the correct method.
Besides that, blood pressure checkups are indeed accurate, but it is critical to do your research and to find something that best suits your needs. It is a good thing to always thoroughly check your device’s accuracy before entirely relying on it. This applies no matter what device you choose.
As mentioned above, you can check its accuracy by scheduling follow-up appointments with your doctor and make sure to bring your monitor along with you.
Comparing the results on your monitor to the one that is used by the healthcare professional will tell you whether you got it right or not. Slight variances inaccuracy is expected, but you should replace the one you have with a different model if there is a dramatic difference in the results.
In order to decide on the perfect blood pressure monitor for yourself, you need to make sure the device’s cuff is of an appropriate size. Most monitors come with a cuff that fits everyone, but the problem may still rise if your arm is too small or big.
Therefore, it is essential to know that due to a wrong cuff size, the results may get invalidated. So in order to get familiar with the features, make sure to try different monitors before time and get the most suitable one for yourself.