Do you plan to start using a blood pressure monitor? You’re part of a growing group. Doctors are telling more and more people with high blood pressure to check their numbers at home.
Why? At the doctor’s office, your blood pressure reading only shows your numbers at that moment. A home monitor lets you check it often. This can give your doctor a better idea of your true blood pressure. The best way to know for sure if you have high blood pressure is to measure it several times a day for a few months.
There are lots of home blood pressure monitors to choose from. Many cost less than $100. You don’t need a prescription to get one. You can find them at your local pharmacy, a discount store, a medical supply store, and online.
Aneroid monitors: You squeeze a bulb to inflate the cuff around your upper arm. Then you read a gauge to find your blood pressure. These are the least expensive options, but they’re also easy to damage.
There are two basic types of monitors that use an arm cuff:
Digital arm monitors: On some models you inflate the cuff. On others the machine does it for you. Your reading appears on a small screen. Some even offer a paper printout. They’re easy to use and read.
Digital arm monitors: They may be less accurate than the ones that use a cuff. That’s because you need to take the reading with your arm at heart level. Other positions can affect your numbers. But they could be a good option if a cuff monitor hurts or if your upper arm is too large for one.
The home blood pressure monitor you choose should be the one that’s right for you, not necessarily the one your friend or neighbor likes. Follow this smart shopper checklist:
Make sure it fits. An arm cuff that’s the wrong size can affect your readings. Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can tell you what size you need.
Ease of use. You may find some monitors simpler to use and read than others. Try out a few before you choose.
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