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Recording your blood pressure from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. If you're in the market for a new wrist blood pressure monitor, you've come to the right place. We're reviewing some top products to help you get started. Of course, if you'd like some more information, skip our reviews and head straight for our in-depth guide below.
The Paramed Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor tops our list with a 9.7 rating. We rate this product so highly because of how user-friendly it is. The large LCD screen makes it easy to read measurements, which includes both blood pressure levels and pulse; if there's an irregular heart beat detected, this device will also create a notification for that. Once you're ready to take your readings, you simply press a button. Readings take less than 30 seconds! Other user-friendly features include a 1-minute automatic shut off and a low-battery indicator.
This device can store up to 90 measurements, and comes with a carrying case and 2 AAA batteries. It currently sells for $29.95 on Amazon, so it's not the cheapest option on this list, but it is still quite reasonably priced. Those who aren't satisfied with this monitor can send it back after 30 days with a money-back guarantee.
The iProvèn Cuff for the Wrist with Bluetooth Connectivity is one of the more high-tech options on this list, with plenty of attractive features to offer. The large LCD screen will display color-coded readings to make interpreting results easier than ever. This device allows one user to record up to 60 days' worth of measurements, which is a little less than what some of its competitors offer. However, tracking is quite easy with the company's free app, which easily connects to this device.
This product is available on Amazon for $23.99, so it's quite reasonably priced. However, some users do report faulty reliability.
Those looking to save money and feel good doing so need look no further than the Greater Good Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff. This item is available for only $18.95 on Amazon. Even better? Part of the purchase goes toward Love146, a non-profit that fights to both end child trafficking and care for survivors.
The large blue display screen makes reading results easy, and this device can store data for 2 users (60 records each). Tracking progress is quite easy, as this device automatically displays your average readings taken over a 3-day period. The company offers a free app, Balance Health, to record readings. However, this app doesn't automatically connect to the monitor; you have to manually enter data. A carrying case is included with a purchase. However, it does not provide much protection.
Omron Health Care are the market leaders when it comes to at-home blood pressure monitors. They have a wide range of blood pressure cuffs and wearables that come highly recommended by professionals and allow users to accurately monitor their blood pressure wherever needed.
The highest ranking Omron Monitor in our rankings is the Omron 3 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor that is both affordable and packed with features. The Omron 3 Series comes with in-built memory to store up to 60 blood pressure readings at one time for one user, irregular heartbeat detection, a hypertension indicator and an advanced averaging process. The Omron 3 Series monitor is the perfect choice for both small and large wrists due to its Wide-Range Cuff that can be adjusted to fit adult wrists ranging from 5.3” to 8.5” in circumference.
It can happen to anyone: you go in for a routine physical and the doctor tells you your blood pressure is creeping up. As such, she wants you to monitor your blood pressure levels at home. You leave the office full of questions. What exactly is blood pressure? How are you supposed to monitor it? What kinds of monitors are available?
Don't worry. We'll walk you through each of these questions, step by step.
Perhaps the best way to explain blood pressure is by using an analogy. Think of your heart as a pump for your blood. Your veins and arteries are the pipes. The blood pressure monitor is the gauge that tells you how much pressure is being put on the pipes.
A blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The first number is higher, and is called the systolic reading. The second, lower number is the diastolic reading.
To get these measurements, an examiner will place a cuff on your body, most often an arm, and inflate it. This cuts off the flow of blood through the artery (think of it as stepping on a hose cutting off the flow of water). Then, as the pressure is slowly released, the blood begins to move again. Either a trained professional or a machine can sense this flow. The number at which flow is sensed is the first (systolic) reading.
As this process happens, a vibration or pulse is detectable, resulting from blood forcing its way through the artery. Once the artery is fully open again, the pulse fades away. The point at which the sound is no longer detectable refers to the second (diastolic) reading.
According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is considered to be below 120/80 (although too low of a blood pressure reading, called hypotension, can occur). Blood pressure over 140/90 is considered high or hypertension. Blood pressures in between these ranges are considered elevated or pre-hypertensive.
A high number means that the heart is working too hard because something is restricting the flow of blood. Buildup of plaque in blood vessels can cause this restriction. Some hormones, such as adrenaline, can also cause blood vessels to constrict. As we age, our blood vessels can become stiffer and less elastic, which can also restrict the flow of blood.
High blood pressure has many adverse effects on your health. Some of these adverse effects include:
Blood pressure is regulated by a complex set of systems, and it naturally fluctuates during the day. In fact, it can change dramatically in just a few minutes. The cardiovascular system interacts with the kidneys, nerves, and hormones to raise or lower pressure. It rises when you exercise, but then it drops after you cool down. Smoking will cause a rise, as well as ingesting caffeine. You should wait at least 30 minutes to test yourself after smoking, exercise, or drinking coffee or tea.
So, what does this all mean? Essentially, a blood pressure reading is just a snapshot of your body at a particular moment in time. Guidelines call for two measurements, one minute apart, with the results averaged together. You may have also noticed that your doctor will measure your blood pressure in both arms, with at least five minutes between readings. These readings might have differed, and your doctor would have averaged them as well. If the difference is quite large, it can be warning sign of cardiac disease. One high reading, unless it is dangerously high, should not result in a diagnosis of hypertension. Doctors will measure it on subsequent visits. Furthermore, most will recommend home monitoring in addition to professional checkups.
Why should you monitor your blood pressure at home? Well, some people exhibit higher blood pressures in the doctor's office than they do at home. Known as the white coat effect, this happens because a patient is stressed or nervous about the doctor taking their blood pressure. Stress hormones flood the system, causing blood pressure to rise. When blood pressure is measured at home, however, it is normal due to the absence of the doctor.
Even more dangerous is the opposite phenomenon, known as masked blood pressure. Some people have blood pressure levels that appear normal during checkups. However, their pressure can spike to dangerous levels over the course of a day. This can be especially problematic for individuals with diabetes or other cardiac risk factors. Since blood pressure is an ever-changing thing, it makes sense to treat it based on readings taken as you go about your day-to-day life.
Readings done in doctor's offices are usually a few points different than those you do at home. This may not matter so much if your blood pressure is high enough that you're clearly hypertensive or low enough that you're not in danger. The problem occurs in the mid-range between these two areas. A false high reading might lead to unnecessary treatment, while a false low could lead to lack of treatment. Neither of these situations are good for your health.
Some people should probably not monitor their blood pressure with home monitoring devices. If you have arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation, for example, an electronic measuring system may not be accurate. Always ask your doctor what method would be best for you.
Guidelines from the National Heart Association call for a cuff of the correct size, properly placed on the arm. To measure pressure:
When you are taking these measurements, you should NOT:
You can check your technique by taking your monitor with you to your next doctor's appointment. Your doctor can check your blood pressure using a standard upper arm monitor and then with your wrist monitor; you can then compare the two results. Your doctor can also show you the correct way to position your arm with the wrist monitor.
In additions to taking steps to lower blood pressure, consistent monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate can help you stay on track toward your health and fitness goals. A doctor should recommend whether a home monitor is best for you.
Home blood pressure monitors are mostly automatic and battery powered. As such, they inflate and deflate by themselves. The systolic and diastolic numbers are registered and displayed on a digital screen. Some units will also display the pulse rate, and some can store readings for later reference. The most common types of home monitoring devices are upper arm and wrist monitors.
Bicep or arm blood pressure monitors have a cuff that wraps around the upper arm. They are like the ones medical professionals use to take readings in their offices. The cuff will usually inflate itself, although some come with a hand pump. But instead of a doctor using a stethoscope, the monitor analyzes the vibrations in the arterial wall and records the systolic and diastolic readings. These bicep monitors often provide a more accurate reading than wrist monitors, although there are plenty of accurate wrist monitors on the market today.
Arm pressure monitors have a built-in advantage. This advantage is that the location of the cuff is usually level with your heart. This positioning is crucial for an accurate reading, no matter what kind of unit you are using. As such, some people find this type of monitor quite simple to use.
However, there are also disadvantages to this type of device. Measuring your blood pressure with an upper arm device can be difficult if your arm circumference exceeds that of the cuff. The arm must be bared, and some find it tricky to get everything adjusted correctly with just one hand. Some people also find the pressure of the tightening cuff on their upper arm intolerable. Individuals who have undergone breast cancer surgery or shoulder surgery often need a wrist monitor as it is easier for them to use this device.
There are many advantages to a wireless wrist blood pressure monitor. Many people simply find a wrist cuff to be more convenient than the upper arm variety. Since it is smaller, you can easily take them with you during the day. Plus, they are more discrete to use than a bulky upper arm blood pressure monitoring cuff. It is also easier to pack for travel, either for business trips or vacations. As such, you can easily keep track of your health on the go.
However, some people consider wrist monitors not quite as easy to use than their bicep counterparts. Wrist blood pressure monitors can be used accurately, but they are prone to error if not used correctly. The arm and wrist must be in the correct position (heart level) for an accurate reading. In other words, blood pressure measurements with wrist blood pressure monitors are accurate only if you keep your arm and wrist at heart level. If your arm is lower than the heart, a false high reading can result. Measurements taken at the wrist often read high because the wrist arteries are narrower and are closer to the surface of the skin than those of the upper arm.
What you want in a monitor is accuracy and ease of use. As such, some features to look for when searching for the perfect monitor include:
All self-measured blood pressure devices sold in the United States must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the American Medical Association. Check the packaging for further validation that the blood pressure monitor is FDA approved.
Will you share your monitor with other family members? Some units allow two or more individuals to keep track of their blood pressure readings. Some devices allow users to store 60 readings at a time (although some high-end models allow you to track more readings).
Obviously, you'll need a monitor to track your blood pressure. However, some devices also let you know if you experience irregular heartbeats, can track your heart rate and pulse, average your readings, and display accurate date and time stamps for your readings.
If you do not want to inflate the device yourself, look for one that has an automatic inflation option. Automatic blood pressure monitors are more common on the market today.
No matter what type of monitor you get, you want to make sure that it fits correctly. Research the cuff size of the device you are interested in before buying it to ensure that it can properly fit your arm or wrist.
Many wireless blood pressure devices run on AAA batteries. A basic unit might use two, while units with more bells and whistles might need three or four. Check to see how easy it is to change the batteries. It's a good idea to keep extra batteries handy in your unit's storage case. Some units have rechargeable batteries that need to be periodically recharged. While wireless wrist cuffs are the norm, there are wired options available.
Look for a display that is easy to read. Large numbers and a backlit screen are helpful. Many units will display pulse rate as well as the blood pressure reading.
The prices of blood pressure monitors can vary widely, depending on the features included. Budget monitors can cost as little as $20 to $30. These bare-bones models can still do a decent job of monitoring your blood pressure, so long as you are extra careful about the positioning and support of the arm. They may not store readings, so be prepared to write them down or enter them manually into an app.
Mid-range monitors do a few more things. Expect to pay between $30 and $70 for one of these units. For a bit more, you can get a monitor that will alert you to an irregular heartbeat. Most of these devices will have storage for readings, and many will average two or three readings automatically for you. Some have positioning guidance to make sure you have your arm in the correct relationship to your heart. If you are looking for a simple-to-understand display, some use a red, yellow, or green background or scale to indicate high, caution, or normal readings at a glance.
High-end monitors are high tech, and will accordingly cost more money. From $70 to upwards of $150, these units will often connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone app. This connection allows unlimited storage of day- and time-stamped records. With proper permission, you can also allow your doctor to access your records using wireless technology. Many of these units will also alert you to irregular heart rhythms or abnormal blood pressure readings.
Keeping your blood pressure under control is one of the most important actions you can do to remain in good health. Home blood pressure monitoring is a vital step in any action plan to treat or prevent high blood pressure-related health issues. While every individual will have different needs, many people find that the best blood pressure monitors for them are the wrist variety. For many, they are perfect tool to check blood pressure levels at home.
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