High blood pressure is a serious problem that impacts 32% of adults in American, or 75 million people. Statistics also show that 54% of people with high blood pressure have the condition under control.
Blood pressure monitors allow you to keep a close eye on your blood pressure, and there are at-home options available that are affordable and easy-to-use.
What is the Most Accurate Home Blood Pressure Monitor?
Accuracy starts with properly using your blood pressure monitor. There are two main options (explained below), but if you use these machines improperly, you won’t be able to accurately monitor your blood pressure.
Using your home blood pressure monitor requires you to do the following:
Remain still. This means not moving, drinking, picking up your phone or anything else. Allow yourself to remain still for 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure, and do not do the following within 30 minutes of measuring: smoking, exercising or drinking caffeine.
Sit properly. Your back needs to remain straight and supported when you sit. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
Measure routinely. Always measure your blood pressure at the same time every day. This allows you to have an accurate reading based off of your lifestyle.
Multiple results. Take a few readings, two or three will suffice, within one minute of each other to accurately assess your results. This will allow you to properly monitor your blood pressure and account for any abnormalities that come along the way.
You’ll also need to know the appropriate ranges and what they mean to your health. A general rule of thumb is as follows:
Less than 120 / 80 is normal
120 – 129 / < 80 is elevated
130 – 139 / 80 – 89 is high blood pressure stage 1
140 / 90 is high blood pressure stage 2
180 / 120 is hypertensive crisis
If you’re in the hypertensive crisis stage, you’ll need to seek help immediately.
At Home Blood Pressure Machine Options
You can shop on several online retailers, and you’ll find plenty of at-home blood pressure monitors available. These monitors will come in one of two main types:
Wrist units are designed to determine your pulse based on your wrist reading. Finger options work the same way, but there’s an issue with these models: accuracy. The accuracy of these units requires precise directions to ensure that they work right.
Body position has a major impact on the reading.
You’ll need to make sure that you maintain the following:
Your arm must be at heart level
Your wrist must be at heart level
Even with proper usage, it’s not uncommon for a person’s blood pressure reading to be higher compared to an upper arm unit. The main issue with these monitors is that they use the wrist’s artery for measuring blood pressure.
The artery in the wrist is narrower than the artery in the arm.
But, wrist models are required for some people that either have very large arms or people that find upper arm models too painful.
Attaches to the wrist
Less “painful” than upper arm models
Works better for people with thicker arms
The American Heart Association doesn’t recommend that people use wrist or finger monitors because the readings are less reliable overall.
Experts even recommend taking your wrist blood pressure monitor with you to the doctor’s office. The goal is to check the accuracy of the unit against the model used at the doctor’s office. If the model is too inaccurate, your doctor may recommend a different wrist monitor or an upper arm unit for home use.
Upper arm blood pressure monitors work very well, and these are what most professionals recommend for at-home use. These monitors will use the artery in the upper arm to be able to provide the user with their blood pressure reading.
The artery in the upper arm is larger and deeper in the skin than the artery in the wrist. Accuracy is much higher and often on-par with the accuracy found in a doctor’s office or hospital.
The only time when this type of monitor may not suffice is when the user has a thicker arm. Thick arms make it difficult to properly attach and check blood pressure with an upper arm unit. You’ll also find that there is less worry about the position of the arm than with a wrist or finger monitor.
High accuracy level
Easy to use
Utilizes a larger, deeper artery
Difficult to attach to thicker arms
Upper arm home blood pressure monitors are what most people are accustomed to, and they’re a lot like the monitors you’ll find at doctors’ offices. You’ll need to find a model that works well for you, and there are plenty of options available.
TEC.Bean is a budget blood pressure monitor, and it’s FDA approved. This monitor will measure systolic and diastolic blood pressure and provides readings in just seconds. You can use the unit three times and it will also calculate your blood pressure average.
This is the same level of accuracy that you get at the doctor’s office.
And the TEC.Bean will store 90 of your most recent readings so that you can get your blood pressure fully under control.
Easy-to-use, this monitor provides a large, clear display that’s perfect for older users.
Omron Blood Pressure Monitors
Omron is the leader in home blood pressure monitors. The manufacturer doesn’t offer the world’s cheapest blood pressure monitors, but they do offer some of the most advanced features in the industry.
And the Omron 10 is the best high-end model we’ve researched so far.
The company has been manufacturing blood pressure monitors for over 40 years, so they know what they’re doing.
The Omron 10 is a high-end monitor, and it has something very few monitors offer: wireless technology. You’ll notice that this model is doctor recommended, and it’s the cumulation of 40 years of experience.
Omron 10 takes the hard work out of monitoring your blood pressure with TruRead technology.
TruRead technology will automatically check your results once every minute so that you have three results and your average pulse. This is the same technique that doctors use in their office to ensure that their patients have an accurate blood pressure reading.
Omron 10 will store 200 past readings for multiple users.
Wireless functionality allows the unit to connect to an online dashboard that will log all of your blood pressure readings. It’s the easiest way to be able to track your blood pressure over a long period of time.
What to Do When Your Blood Pressure is High
Severely high blood pressure will require you to go to the doctor’s office and seek medical attention. High blood pressure is a serious issue, but if you’re on medication and the readings aren’t too high, you can naturally lower your blood pressure.
A healthy diet is a must, but you can also do the following to naturally lower your blood pressure:
Meditate. Seriously. Studies have been done on meditation, and the American Medical Association has found that meditating for even just a few minutes per day can reduce blood pressure and relieve stress.
Sun. People don’t get out in the sun enough, and if you have high blood pressure, this is bad news. Studies have also found that exposure to UV rays results in a significant drop in high blood pressure.
Dancing. Additional studies have shown that dancing, specifically aerobic dance therapy, reduces the need for many antihypertensive drugs. Dancing can be a lot of fun, too.
Exercise. Regular exercise will help you lose excess weight and also lower blood pressure. You need to exercise for 30 minutes or more a day. Your effort will result in blood pressure levels dropping 4 – 9 millimeters. Studies have also shown that exercise can stop hypertension from progressing, and it can also help lower your blood pressure back to safe levels.
Of course, you’ll want to monitor your sodium intake, eat healthier foods and stop drinking so much caffeine. Cigarettes are also a big no-no.
High blood pressure is best monitored at home and put on a priority list for a healthier life. If you make immediate changes to your lifestyle, you might be able to stop high blood pressure and hypertension completely.
It’s a lifelong battle that starts with diet, exercise and a full understanding of your blood pressure results.