How to choose the best blood pressure monitor. Advantages and disadvantages of each alternative

Before you choose which device to use, answer these questions:
- Who are you choosing the monitor for?
- What size cuff do you need?
- How and when will it be used?

Below, we'll talk about the specifics of each type of blood pressure monitor so that you can decide what's best for you.

Manual blood pressure cuff / Sphygmomanometer

This type of device is most commonly used by doctors and is considered to be the most accurate of all devices. Using it correctly, however, will require some skill.

It consists of a cuff, a pressure gauge, and an air pump connected to the cuff by two tubes. Another important aspect of using this device is the stethoscope. With it we can hear Korotkoff sounds, which are the sounds that occur in the brachial artery clamped by the cuff. In one of our videos, we explained the proper way to measure your blood pressure with a device like this.

While measuring your blood pressure, it is important to keep still. When using a manual blood pressure cuff on your own, this can be easier said than done. Pumping air means you're using physical effort, which means you are affecting your blood pressure. In turn, the readings you get from a self-measurement will not be entirely accurate.

Try to listen very closely and use this blood pressure cuff in complete silence in order to easily hear the Korotkoff sounds. Keep a close eye on the pressure gauge arrow to see the upper and lower pressure numbers.

Automatic arm blood pressure monitor

This is the most common type of blood pressure measuring device. It is comfortable and easy to use.

It consists of a cuff that is attached to a device containing all control sensors and pressurizing valves. To measure your blood pressure, you need to put the cuff on your arm and press a button.

The operating principles of these blood pressure monitors are the same as with manual monitors, but in this case, the device itself registers the onset Korotkoff tones and their fading. This allows people with hearing and vision impairments to get accurate blood pressure measurements with greater ease.

These devices have a large screen, narrate the results, record your pulse, and can detect arrhythmias. They also remember up to 120 measurements from two different users at the same time.

These blood pressure monitors are either battery-operated or plug in to a power source. Batteries give the device some mobility, but it is always better to have an extra set of new batteries available if the old ones have lost their charge. Power from a wall outlet provides uninterrupted use, but makes the device dependent on the location of the outlet.

Wrist blood pressure monitor

These devices are as portable as they possibly can be. They are small in size and are easy to take with you.

This type of blood pressure monitor is wrap on the wrist. By correctly positioning the cuff and pressing one button, you can get a measurement of your blood pressure and pulse within a minute.

Such devices have a screen where you can clearly see measurement results. According to the WHO scale, which is found on the blood pressure monitor, you can easily understand whether your blood pressure is normal, elevated, or low. The device also stores 90 measurements, allowing you to easily track your medical history.

The arteries of the wrist, however, are narrower, and not as deep under the skin as those of the upper arm. This makes it difficult to get accurate readings. Another important aspect necessary for proper measuring is making sure you use the device properly. The monitor must be exactly in the right position as any movement can throw off the reading. We have a video on how to do this and you can check it out:

How do I determine which size cuff I need?

The accuracy of your measurement depends on whether the cuff fits properly. To determine your precise cuff size, measure the circumference of your upper arm exactly in the middle between your elbow and your shoulder. Keep these measurements in mind when looking at the size of cuffs while choosing a device. Paramed pressure monitors come with a universal size cuff that will fit an arm with a circumference ranging from 22 to 42 cm. When choosing a wrist blood pressure monitor, measure the circumference of your wrist. A wrist cuff length of 13 to 19 cm is considered universal and suitable for most hands.

Let's draw some conclusions

A manual blood pressure monitor is good if you plan to measure someone other than yourself and if you trust classic technology over more modern devices. 

An automatic arm blood pressure monitor is good if you want to expend little effort and still get correct measurements. It's also an ideal monitor for people who are older or have hearing or vision problems.

A wrist blood pressure monitor is good if you need to measure your blood pressure frequently, such as when traveling or at work. The main thing with this type of monitor is to use it correctly, which is not that difficult if you follow all of the instructions.

No matter which blood pressure monitor you choose, you can take it with you to the doctor and compare your measurements right at the appointment. Doing so will help ensure the accuracy of the device and your ability to take accurate readings.

We wish you a normal blood pressure and very good health!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published