Selecting a Blood Pressure Monitor and Cuff Size

Pharmacist George
By Pharmacist George Latest Reply 2012-12-13 22:35:19 -0600
Started 2012-12-13 22:35:19 -0600

Blood pressure machines are available from the fully manual to the fully automated, which can give you printouts. The price varies from the fully manual at about $19 to the fully automated at about $120 or more. They all have almost the same accuracy, but it is just a matter of choosing how automated you want it and deciding what features you want and can afford.

I recommend a machine that takes only one push to activate and requires the least task-coordination. You really do not need the more expensive ones that give you a printout. You place the cuff in the right direction on your left arm (proper blood pressure measuring procedure is provided a couple paragraphs down), and then you push one button.

Within seconds the machine inflates, deflates, and gives you a reading that can be stored in the machine’s memory. These machines are usually the most economical. Every retail pharmacy chain has its own brand of these blood pressure machines. They cost about $40 to $50, and they are manufactured for them by re-known brands such as Omron. Omron is a reputable company that manufactures a wide range of health-related products and monitors.

Always select the arm monitors instead of the wrist or the finger monitors. The arm monitor is the most accurate. If, for some reason, an arm monitor cannot be used, then a wrist monitor may be an alternative. Omron puts out a wrist monitor that uses satellite positioning and may be more accurate than other wrist monitors. But never rely on the finger monitors. They’re not accurate.

Most retail pharmacies have their own free sit-in blood pressure monitors. If you don’t own a monitor and want to monitor your blood pressure with these machines, always choose the same machine. It is not accurate to go measure your blood pressure with several machines so stick with the same machine for maximum accuracy. And remember, keep a written log as a back up to the machines with memory and take your log to your doctor’s visit. If your blood pressure starts climbing above 130/80, call your doctor immediately, do not wait for your next visit.

Proper cuff size

The arm monitors that are sold in stores, and the stationary sit-in blood pressure monitors that you find at your local drug stores, are designed for people with average arm sizes. Consequently, if someone has a thin or a larger arm size, then these monitors will not provide accurate readings and should not be used. If the arm fits snugly in the blood pressure machine, the reading should not proceed. Likewise, if the arm fits loosely, then again you should not proceed.

There are large and small cuff sizes that are sold separately; they come in an assortment of sizes. You can find them at retail pharmacies and pharmacies that specialize in selling medical supplies. Just make sure that the cuff size you choose fits the monitor you are buying. Also, the manufacturers of these blood pressure monitors can be contacted, and you can order large or small cuff sizes directly through them that will be a match for your monitor.

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