As a high blood pressure sufferer, regular BP monitoring at home can be a useful tool in the continued managing of your condition. By monitoring and recording your blood pressure several times a day, your doctor can see if your blood pressure medication is working steadily, or if there are spikes throughout the day which can be attributed to activity or appetite.
When using a blood pressure monitor at home, be sure to maintain certain constants in every reading. Do not use caffeine, alcohol or tobacco for 30 minutes prior to every reading, use the bathroom and rest for 5 minutes before measuring blood pressure. Ignoring any of these preconditions will affect the reading and indicate artificial results of medications.
Aneroid blood pressure monitors for home use, are the standard blood pressure instruments used in the doctor’s office. Ranging in cost from $20 to $30, the user wraps the cuff around the upper arm, inflates the cuff by pumping a rubber bulb, and reads the pointer dial to record blood pressure. Easily portable, the disadvantage of the aneroid monitor is it’s requirement of hand coordination to operate the inflating bulb and non-impairment of hearing to count the number of heat beats through a stethoscope.
Digital blood pressure monitors for home use are more expensive, ranging from $30 to over $100, utilize your choice of manual or automatic cuff inflation, and the blood pressure reading is digitally displayed on a small screen. While the digital blood pressure monitor is easier to read by most patients, it requires batteries and seems to be oversensitive in that movement or irregular heartbeat can affect the accuracy.
In all cases, when purchasing a blood pressure monitor, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse for the size of the cuff required for your arm size. Use of a monitor with the wrong size cuff will affect the results of your blood pressure readings, making them unreliable. Having your blood pressure monitor checked by your doctor once a year for accuracy, and ask your doctor to show you how to properly use it upon purchase. Doing these things will insure the accuracy of readings, and help you and your doctor monitor your condition.
americanheart.org from the post: Your Questions Answered - High Blood Pressure Home Monitoring Last updated April 17, 2008