Choosing a blood pressure monitor
Which blood pressure monitor should you choose? There are several types of monitor available but you need to find one which will give an accurate reading, is easy to use and suitable for you.
How do you choose?
To start with, ask your GP. He or she will be able to recommend a particular type of monitor which he/she knows will suitable for you and your condition. Further help can be obtained at the Blood Pressure Association (website: www.bpassoc.org.uk). They should be able to provide a list of clinically reputable monitors.
There are a wide range of monitors available which can be confusing but the following advice may help:
- Choose a blood pressure monitor which is fully automatic
- Choose a monitor that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm as this will give the most accurate reading. Some blood pressure monitors only measure your blood pressure at your finger or wrist.
- Check your monitor to see that it has been listed as ‘clinically validated’ by the Blood Pressure Association (www.bloodpressureuk.org/) or the British Hypertension Society (www.bhsoc.org). This certification means that the monitor has undergone a series of checks to ensure that it meets the necessary requirements. It also means that it is reliable and will give an accurate reading.
- Choose a monitor which fits in with your budget: blood pressure monitors vary in price which is usually due to the various features available. Choose a monitor which you can afford.
- Make sure that your monitor is calibrated: blood pressure monitors work automatically but it needs to be re-set every couple of years to ensure that it continues to give accurate readings. You will have to return it to the manufacturer for this service for which there will be a charge.
- Ensure that the cuff size is right for you
In regard to the last item: if the arm cuff is too large then you will not be able to obtain an accurate reading. Measure your arm and then use that figure to select the right cuff for you.
How do you do this?
Using a tape measure, wrap this around your upper arm (halfway between your shoulder and elbow) and take a measurement from that.
Then use that to choose the right cuff size for you.
Blood pressure monitor cuff sizes
Arm cuffs generally come in three sizes:
- Small: 18-22 centimetres or 7.1-8.7 inches
- Medium: 22-32 centimetres or 8.8-12.8 inches
- Large: 32-45 centimetres or 12.8-18 inches
Most blood pressure monitors are supplied with a medium sized cuff. If your arm is smaller or larger than this then you will have to order the appropriate sized cuff.
To take your blood pressure all you need is a suitable monitor and a pen and paper to record your readings.
Find out more about using it in our using a blood pressure monitor section.
Types of blood pressure monitors
Choose a monitor which has been checked and approved by the British Hypertension Society (www.bhsoc.org)
Here are examples of suitable monitors:
- BPA/Microlife BP3AG1 blood pressure monitor
- Boots the Chemist home blood pressure monitor
- Braun home blood pressure monitor
- Lloyds Pharmacy home blood pressure monitor
- Omron home blood pressure monitor
- Proton Healthcare home blood pressure monitor (source: www.bloodpressureuk.org/)
These and others are listed on the Blood Pressure Association website.
If you have bought one of these monitors then the next step is how to use it which is covered in the next section.
High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Pressure
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- Diagnosing high blood pressure
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- Choosing a blood pressure monitor
- Using a home blood pressure monitor
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