“Blood pressure monitors” as the name suggests, are devices used to monitor or measure the blood pressure levels. Blood pressure monitoring plays an important role in managing and maintaining a healthy level of blood pressure.
BP monitor is a must for anyone who is finding it difficult to control the blood pressure levels. We are of the opinion that each one of us needs to have at least one BP monitor at home for the use of our family. So which is the best monitor for you to buy? And what are the types?
Why do we need BP monitors when we don’t have hypertension?
It is always important to know our blood pressure readings on a regular basis even though we don’t have any visible signs and symptoms. In many cases, high blood pressure goes unnoticed, if not monitored. This can result in some serious internal organ damage if left untreated for long.
A continuously high level of blood pressure will damage the vital organs in the long run and might end up in stroke, brain hemorrhage or even death.
It is not possible for us to run to the clinic each time to take our blood pressure readings. So it is always advisable to buy a good BP monitor and keep it at home for our personal use.
Types of Blood Pressure Monitors
There are mainly two types of monitors available in the market at present. Manual and automatic.
Manual Type of Monitors
These are the traditional type of monitors which most of the doctors use. Are also called “Sphygmomanometers”. A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit and a mechanism for inflation which usually is a bulb and valve type. And a stethoscope is a must to record the readings.
Manual monitors can be again of two types.
• Mercury Sphygmomanometers which are the standard ones used for ages.
• And the second one is an Aneroid sphygmomanometer which is a mechanical type with a dial.
How do they measure the blood pressure with these blood pressure monitors?
As blood flows through the arteries, measurement is taken by temporarily stopping the flow in one of the arteries and then by listening for the sound of the blood beginning to flow again as air is released from the BP cuff.
When the blood flow is first heard immediately after releasing the pressure, that is noted as ‘systolic blood pressure’ or the top number. Reading on the gauge when the blood flow can no longer be heard is called the ‘diastolic blood pressure’ or the bottom number in the reading.
Automatic or digital monitors
As the name suggests, these are the battery-operated devices that use a microphone to detect pulsation of blood. These are the most commonly used ‘home blood pressure monitors’.
The great news here is that you don’t need a stethoscope. The cuff is attached to your wrist or your upper arm and is connected to a monitor that inflates and deflates the cuff automatically. The only work you have got here is to press the ‘start’ button.
Ambulatory BP Monitor
This is an automatic small device that is worn throughout the day, mostly for 24-48 hours. This device records your blood pressure automatically by periodically inflating the cuff. The recordings can be later used by your doctor for analysis.
These types of monitors are ordered only if there is a big difference in the readings you take at home and the readings taken by your doctor in his clinic. If you are required to use one of these, sizing of the cuff by a health care professional is a must.
Things to Look For in a Blood Pressure Monitor Before You Buy
You need to consider a few things before you choose a blood pressure monitor for your home use.
The first one is the budget, of course- The BP monitors prices vary widely depending on some of the key features like memory, accuracy etc. So the choice is a very personal one in this case as the financial preferences of each individual is different.
Automatic or manual– The obvious winner here is automatic as the process of recording blood pressure is less cumbersome. Unlike manual ones, you don’t need to use a stethoscope here.
Upper arm monitor or wrist or finger one- It is highly recommended for you to use an upper arm monitor as it is more accurate in its readings than in case of wrist or finger ones.
The cuff size– The cuff of the BP monitor should fit you properly and comfortably in your upper arm. This is a lesser problem nowadays as more care is taken to design the cuff sizes in recent times.
Top 3 Blood Pressure Monitors
Listed below are few of the best blood pressure monitors available right now in the market
Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Omron is one of the most popular brands when it comes to blood pressure monitors. It is also the most often recommended BP monitor by doctors around the world. The one being discussed here is a wrist BP monitor that gives you accurate readings along with portability. This monitor automatically inflates when the wrist is at heart level and indicator lights help you find the correct position.
This monitor is very silent. So you can take readings wherever you want, whenever you want, without bringing it to other’s notice. This monitor can store up to 100 readings. It costs around $46.99 on Amazon.
You can use this link to check out the product on Amazon.
Clinical Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor FDA Approved by Generation Guard with Large Screen Display
This is an FDA approved blood pressure monitor from generation guard. It is a digital wrist monitor. It has a large-screen display and gives you Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure readings along with heart rate.
The manufacturers claim that this blood pressure monitor has advanced measuring technology which gives you fast and accurate readings every time. This monitor also has a hypertension indicator feature along with the heart rate sensor.
Presently it is available for $21.95 and is very cheap compared to its competitors.
You can check out more about this monitor using this Amazon link.
Omron 10 Series Wireless Bluetooth Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
This is an upper arm blood pressure monitor that can store up to 200 readings and can store for 2 people (100 each).
This monitor comes with an adjustable pre-formed ComFit Cuff which is very comfortable to use while giving a precise reading at the same time. This monitor automatically displays the average of the last 3 readings which you have taken within 10 minutes. This Omron BP monitor is presently priced at $63.99. You can use this link to find out more.