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Who should check blood pressure at home? How to choose the correct blood pressure monitor?

Author: Dr. Kiran Kumar Reddy CV - Heart & Circulatory Health  

Blood pressure monitoring at home is recommended for most people who are suspected of having high blood pressure or at high risk. The doctor would not be able to correctly say that you are hypertensive with only one reading of the blood pressure. The guidelines say that at-least three readings have to be taken at different time points in a day to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension. The readings taken while people are going about their daily lives are more accurate than those taken in a clinic. These readings would also give your doctor the information about how the medication is working. The ideal method - ambulatory blood pressure monitoring - uses a portable recorder.

Researches recommend regular blood pressure monitoring for the following persons:

  • Hypertensive patients on medication
  • Patient where frequent monitoring of BP is required and is not possible to come to clinic many times in a day.
  • Elderly people with high risk
  • Coronary heart disease patients
  • Diabetics
  • Patients with kidney diseases
  • Pregnant women

These days this task is very easy as digital blood pressure monitors are available in the market. They measure your blood pressure and store the readings also with the time stamp. These devices are very user friendly and there is no dependency on any other person for measuring. There are 2 types of devices and they are wrist blood pressure monitor and arm blood pressure monitor. It was found that the arm blood pressure monitors are more reliable.

As there are many blood pressure monitoring devices available in the market, it is very important that you choose the right one for you needs.

The following aspects are to be considered when buying:

  • Validation - Validation essentially means an accurate monitor. Please check whether it is clinically validated before you buy.
  • Cuff size that fits your arm:

Only when you have the correct cuff size, the readings will be accurate.

Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor cuff sizes

Measurement (cm)

Measurement (inches)

Cuff size

18-22 cm

7.1-8.7”

Small

22-32 cm

8.8-12.8”

Medium

32-45 cm

12.8-18”

Large

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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