When choosing a home blood-pressure monitor it is a wise idea to consult with your doctor first. It is also suggested that you show your new device to your doctor or nurse after you obtain it so that you can take a practice reading in his or her presence. That way, you can look at the results together and your doctor can recommend best practices for you to follow when monitoring on your own at home.
Typically, digital monitors are suggested more often than manual. Be aware that finger and wrist blood-pressure monitors are not recommended by the American Heart Association. This is because they have been found to produce less accurate measurements than arm-cuff monitors.
As a general guideline, the AHA suggests monitors that:
When shopping for an at-home monitor, measure it around your arm to ensure that it fits properly before purchasing it. The cuffs are not made in a one-size-fits-all manner.
You’re looking for high quality and will want to check to see that the device has been approved and tested by the following:
- The International Protocol for the Validation of Automated BP Measuring Devices
- The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
- The British Hypertension Society
Tips for Measuring Blood Pressure at Home
When measuring your blood pressure at home with a digital monitor, it is considered best to take your blood pressure after you have been resting for a minimum of five minutes to achieve the most accurate results. You’ll want to avoid taking a measurement within a half-hour of having completed exercise, consumed caffeine, or smoked.
Make sure to keep your upper arm at heart level. Keep your back supported and your feet flat on the ground without crossing your legs. If your body is fidgeting while you are digitally recording your blood pressure, the reading will be less accurate than if you remain still.