If you are dealing with having high blood pressure, getting a precise estimation can literally mean the difference between life and death, it’s not called a vital sign for anything. You can trust your doctor to take accurate blood pressure readings during your appointments, but what if you need to take your own blood pressure readings at home?
Things can get a little more complicated at this point. Blood pressure is just one of the hundreds of health-tracking measures that wellness and fitness tech companies have jumped on, and devices like this blood pressure cuff that also functions as a smartwatch are now commonplace.
If you’re able to wear a blood pressure monitor on your arm, you should: Only upper-arm cuff oscillometric devices that have passed validation protocols are recommended for at-home monitoring, according to medical experts. However, if you have an impairment that prevents you from attaching an arm-based monitor or if your arms are too large to fit in an arm cuff, a wrist- or finger-based blood pressure monitor may be preferable to an arm-based monitor.
Using a blood pressure monitor that fits properly is an important part of getting an accurate reading. You might get an inaccurate reading if your blood pressure monitor is too big or too small.
The first step is to measure the circumference of the upper arm around the bicep; use the middle of the upper arm around the bicep, multiply the circumference in centimeters by 80 percent to get the right length, and 40 percent to get the right width of the bladder cuff. The part of the cuff that fills with air is the bladder, not the extra Velcro length.
What else do you need from your at-home blood pressure monitor beside a blood pressure reading? People with tachycardia (fast heartbeat), bradycardia (slow heartbeat), or other types of atrial fibrillation, for example, may benefit from a built-in arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) detector.
Other things to think about are the display (brightness, text size, and colors), portability, battery life, battery type, and the app interface of the product’s companion app. Last but not least, if you can’t figure out how to navigate the app, you won’t be able to see your blood pressure readings, export the data, or analyze trends to help you make better health decisions.
You are almost ready to buy a blood pressure monitor once you have your measurements and know what features you require. If you’re looking for a health-tech device that monitors vital signs, make sure it has been clinically validated.
If you are pregnant, have atrial fibrillation, or have a large arm circumference, or if you’ll be using the monitor for a kid, make sure it’s been validated for those populations as well.
At-home blood pressure monitors range in price from $30 to over $100. When it comes to blood pressure, you’ll need to strike a balance between staying within your budget and selecting a product that will best support your health.