Blood pressure is the force that pushes blood through the blood vessels in your body. When someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure it means that the blood is being pushed with greater force than normal. Blood pressure monitors will measure this force in your body. Some people with high blood pressure decide to purchase a monitor to keep track of their numbers at home. However, there are numerous debates surrounding the purchase of these at home monitors.
For a start, many doctors argue that patients who measure their blood at home will just worry more, and that these monitors are just a lucrative niche market for pharmaceutical companies. So before you buy any monitor: consult your doctor. On the other hand, BPMs are extremely useful for people with high blood pressure; not only does it allow them to feel more in control of their condition, but it helps them to learn first hand what affects it and how often it changes. The blood pressure monitor market is competitive, but not all models are as accurate, as practical or as reassuring as others.
Electric monitors have better features, but they are predictably more expensive than manual ones. In fact, it is difficult to find an accurate manual blood pressure monitor on the market. The best manual model available would probably be the Lumiscope 100-001 Blood Pressure Kit. The price is reasonable, approximately $25.00 and it has proven to be accurate.
Wrist monitors are the latest innovation in the field of measuring blood pressure. Handier – they can dramatically reduce the number of doctor appointments you have to make – they are becoming more popular in a growing market. On the downside, however, they are less accurate than upper arm monitors (the ones most commonly used at physician offices). This in the worst-case scenario can be very dangerous, so are used mainly by those interested in monitoring blood pressure, as opposed to those needing to monitor it. The Omron 637 – IT ($150) wrist monitor is the exception. It has been proven through independent research that it gives accurate results when the measurement is taken when the wrist is at heart level.
Omron, Marshall and Lumiscope also offer comprehensive and useful accessories, ranging from memories, particularly important if you are on a target scheme, to adjustable cuffs – well worth looking into if you feel awkward testing in front of others.
Microlife upper arm monitors are unique because they are both accurate and versatile; recordings can be taken just about anywhere and cuff sizes can be supplied in four sizes (small, regular, large and for those who are pregnant) all from just $60.
Other leading, competitive and trusted brands include A and D instruments, Panasonic, Life Source, ADC and Samsung.
Whichever brand you decide on, it is important that the product is certified by a medical foundation, for example the European Hypertension Society or the American Heart Association. Additionally, before using the monitor you should avoid eating, drinking alcohol, smoking, exercising or taking a bath. This will ensure that the results are accurate and not distorted by these variables.
You should always buy for accuracy before ease, but keep in mind that some products require a nurse or doctor to administer them. Most importantly, remember that blood pressure monitors are not a substitute for a doctor and if you run into any sort of problem contact your physician immediately.