An increasing number of people are developing hypertension each year given the chaotic lifestyle, unhealthy dietary habits and sometimes their genetic predisposition. In order to control the condition and preventing it from worsening, it is extremely important that the patients monitor their blood pressure regularly. It is quite obvious that visiting the doctor every other day is not a feasible option. This is where the home health monitoring devices come into the picture.
Blood pressure monitors for checking blood pressure at home are all the rage right now. Not only do they offer convenience but also motivate the user to enhance their lifestyle and gain control over the condition. The market is flooded with hundreds of blood pressure monitoring devices. But which one is right for you? What should your blood pressure monitor have that will make it worth all the money you spend? Let’s talk about it.
How does the Blood Pressure Monitor Work?
The blood pressure is expressed in terms of two numbers one over the other. The normal blood pressure is 120 over 80 or 120/80 mm of Hg. The 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. A person with pre-hypertension pressure exhibits the systolic blood pressure in the range of 120-139 and the diastolic pressure in the range of 80-89. A person with full-blown hypertension has the systolic pressure of 140 or above and the diastolic pressure of 90 or above.
Now you might be wondering, what do systolic and diastolic mean? Systolic pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries which is created every time the ventricles of the heart contract and push oxygenated blood out into the body. Diastolic pressure is the blood pressure in the arteries when the ventricles relax in between in the contractions.
The blood pressure monitor measures the arterial blood pressure at these two instances, i.e., contraction and relaxation of the ventricles of the heart. The sphygmomanometer used by the doctors is a complex device and not everybody can use it and interpret the readings correctly. To make blood pressure monitoring at home hassle free, the makers of the blood pressure monitors have been striving to simplify and automate the device.
Regular monitoring of blood pressure is important for patients of pre-hypertension to detect any health problems early ahead and to manage the anomaly in a better manner. Similarly, hypertension patients need routine checkups to make sure their medication and changes in diet and lifestyle are making a positive difference.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Blood Pressure Monitor?
- Type of Blood Pressure Monitors
It goes without saying that you must go for the fully automatic, digital blood pressure monitor. But there are 3 subtypes as well. Some monitors measure the blood pressure at your finger while some are supposed to measure the pressure at the wrist. However, the monitors that are designed to measure blood pressure at the upper arm are your best bet. They are way more accurate than the other two variants. The cuff is supposed to be worn in the center, right between the elbow and the shoulder joint. Doctors advise against using monitors that measure the blood pressure at the finger because they are very inaccurate.
- Size of the Cuff
When it comes to cuff size, there is no ‘one size fits all’. Most blood pressure monitoring devices come with medium-size cuffs, which would be too big for children and too small for well-built or obese individuals. In that case, you might want to order a separate cuff that would fit your arm well. Here is a guide of cuff length in centimeter corresponding to the small, medium and large size.
o Large – 32 to 45 centimeters
o Medium – 22 to 32 centimeters
o Small – 18 to 22 centimeters
- Automated Operations
The blood pressure monitoring device should offer a one-touch operation. Once the cuff is wrapped around the arm and the device turned on, the cuff inflates automatically. The device is equipped with the fuzzy logic mechanism and it is programmed to know how much the cuff should inflate and when it should deflate. The device then records the systolic and diastolic pressures as well as the pulse rate.
- Vivid Display
No matter how sophisticated your blood pressure monitor is, it makes no sense if you cannot make sense what is displayed on the screen. A good blood pressure monitor should have a nice, bright and larger LED screen. The characters appearing on the screen should be large enough, dark and bold to avoid any incidence of misreading the results. The screen should display the heart rate, both systolic and diastolic pressures simultaneously.
- After-Sales Services
Blood pressure monitoring devices need to be recalibrated after every one year or two. For this purpose, you would need to send your device back to the manufacturer. So before you finalize your purchases, make sure the manufacturer does indeed offer the recalibration service. Also, enquire about the fees they charge for the same.
- Range of Measurement
The range for measuring systolic and diastolic pressures and heart rate is an indispensable factor. Imagine you have hypertension and your blood pressure is usually about 160/100 and your blood pressure monitor’s range end at 140/90! How would you know what your blood pressure is at the moment if your device is insufficient? So always make sure your device has an adequate range.
- Extra Features
It would be nice to have a long battery life since the blood pressure monitors usually run of 2 double-A batteries. Most of them have an inbuilt memory, sometimes with 2 different slots that store previous blood pressure readings separately for two different users. For example, the Hicks N800 Fully Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor has a memory of 120 readings, for two users, 60 readings for each. The memory definitely helps determine if your medication, exercise regimen and dietary and other lifestyle changes are working or if there is a need to tweak your dosage. It also calculates and displays the average of the previous three readings.
It goes without saying that you get what you pay for. Your budget plays an important role and the price of the device depends on its features. The prices range between INR 1999 and INR 20000. We hope this write-up cleared your dilemmas and that now you would be more confident while shopping for your new blood pressure monitoring device.