While you can still buy a very cost-conscious, traditional blood pressure device with a manometer and stethoscope, today’s automatic home blood pressure monitors make using, reading and recording your blood pressure rates almost effortless. With the monitor cuff in place, inflation and deflation takes place at the press of a button, then the reading is displayed on an easy-to-read screen. Additional features makes it easier still.
In The Know: Blood Pressure Numbers
|•||The systolic pressure is the top number and gives a reading of the pressure as your heart contracts to pump blood to your body.|
|•||The diastolic pressure is the bottom number and gives a reading of the pressure between heartbeats.|
Before purchasing a home blood pressure monitor, it’s important to determine the right cuff size to ensure an accurate reading. Upper arm cuffs typically accommodate arms that are 9” to 17” in circumference; use a tapemeasure around your upper arm to get your measurement. Many blood pressure home monitors come with two cuffs, both standard and large adult cuffs, to enable you to get the most accurate fit.
There are blood pressure monitors available in extra large sizes, such as the Bariatric Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with a high performance motor and the AccuFit™ extra large cuff, contoured to fit arm sizes 16.5-23.6”.
Blood pressure monitors with wrist cuffs are another option if you have a larger than average sized arm. The Medline Plus Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor may be more comfortable to use. Keep in mind that wrist cuff monitors still require proper arm positioning at the heart level.
It’s essential that the cuff is the appropriate size and is properly applied. If the cuff doesn’t fit you correctly or isn’t in the right position, you won’t get an accurate reading. The best approach is to take your monitor with you to your doctor’s office and have a nurse check that you’re doing everything correctly.