High blood pressure is called by doctors as ‘the silent killer’ for a good reason – it has no obvious symptoms. Still, it can increase your risk of heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, and a number of other health problems.
When it comes to keeping track of blood pressure, an occasional doctor’s office check-up may not give you the full picture of the situation. That is because blood pressure tends to vary during the day and a single blood pressure measurement may not be enough information. Home blood pressure monitoring is an effective way to keep track of your blood pressure. Research has shown that home blood pressure monitoring can help people with hypertension get their numbers under control.
Why Monitor Blood Pressure at Home?
Home blood pressure can be very helpful for those who experience ‘white coat hypertension’, which is a blood pressure that’s high during a medical checkup but normal at home. The reasons why this happen aren’t completely clear, but one common theory is that some individuals have anxiety about being in a doctor’s office or other healthcare settings, causing blood pressure to temporarily spike. The opposite effect, called ‘masked hypertension’ can also occur. This is when the person has normal blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office but high blood pressure most of the rest of the time.
Monitoring at home can also help patients who are just starting on medications to lower blood pressure, to find out how well the therapy is working. It can also be helpful for pregnant women experiencing pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia.
How to Monitor Blood Pressure at Home?
In order to monitor your blood pressure home, you will need a blood pressure monitor. Omron offers a range of them.
Omron is one of the best brands on the home blood pressure monitor market. And according to a lot of online user reviews of their products, Omron is one of the first names doctors recommend to patients considering the purchase of a blood pressure monitor. The brand offers a wide range of monitors, the majority which is for use on the upper arm, although they also have a small range of wrist-mounted monitors.
To take a reading, all you have to do is attach the cuff to your upper arms and hit the big, blue button (all models come with one). Aside from displaying your blood pressure, the device will also display stats on your pulse and even identify whether you have an irregular heartbeat.
Types of Home Monitors
Home blood pressure monitors are available in arm-cuff and wrist-cuff models. In order to choose the best model for your needs, it’s necessary to consider features, performance and price.
Monitors that automatically inflate the cuff and display readings. Many models come with ‘risk category indicators’ that will flag high readings. Some models allow you to download the results to your computer or smart device, making it easy to share them with your doctor. The benefits of using these devices are some models feature multiple user memories, which allow more than one person in the household to monitor and record their blood pressure. This type of monitor also tends to be more accurate. The downside of these monitors is that correct fit of the arm cuff is essential. If it’s too tight or loose, you may obtain inaccurate readings. Also, the devices are bulky or not portable and often not as comfortable as wrist monitors.
Convenient monitors that are fully automatic but sometimes less accurate then arm models. The benefits of wrist monitors are they are lightweight, compact, and portable. They are generally more comfortable than arm monitors. The downside is that measurements taken at the wrist are extremely sensitive to body position. Although both wrist and arm cuffs need to be positioned at heart level for an accurate reading, this is more difficult to get right with a wrist cuff.
Tips for Selecting the Right Monitor for You
1. Check the Fit
Whether monitor type you choose, make sure its cuff fits the circumference of your wrist or upper arm. If buying online, use a tape measure to be certain. Using a cuff that’s doesn’t fit you right can lead inaccurate readings. A lot of arm monitor models come with two cuffs or a cuff that can be adjusted to fit most people. Wrist models also fit most people.
2. Pick One That is Easy to Use
Make sure the display on the monitor is easy to read. The buttons should be large and intuitive. The directors for operating the monitor and using the cuff should also be clear.
3. Choose Features You Need
Different blood pressure monitors will have different features. Here are some to consider: risk-category indicator, irregular-heartbeat detector, multiple cuffs, multiple user memories, memory download capability, data averaging function and large-digit display.