Checking your blood pressure (BP) at home is an important part of managing high blood pressure (hypertension). BP monitoring at home is now easy, thanks to the availability of BP monitors in many retail drugstores and medical supply stores. These devices can be bought without a doctor’s prescription.
Here are some tips on how to choose the right BP monitor:
- The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep (upper-arm) monitor. It does not recommend wrist and finger monitors because they yield less reliable readings.
- The BP monitor should have a cuff that fits your upper arm; use a tape measure to be sure.
- The BP monitor’s display should be clear and easy to read, with a large LED digit-display. Its buttons should be big and intuitive.
- Choose a model that can store multiple BP readings for more than one user and has data averaging function. These features will help you and your loved ones effectively monitor your BP over time.
- Pick a BP monitor that is reasonably priced and fits your budget while not compromising on accuracy and overall quality. Shop around before making your choice. Discuss your choices with your doctor so that you can pick the BP monitor that fits your unique needs.
- Before using your BP monitor for the first time, ask your doctor to validate it by checking its accuracy against the BP measuring device in the clinic. Have your BP monitor validated every year.