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Blood Pressure Products
Monitoring an individual’s blood pressure at home is an important part of managing high blood pressure (hypertension). The American Heart Association and other organizations recommend home monitoring to help record blood pressure results in a familiar setting, making sure medication is working, and alerting the individual or their doctor of potential health complications
There are several different types of blood pressure devices to help home blood pressure monitoring, including:
Traditional Blood Pressure Monitors
Traditional blood pressure devises, like aneroid monitors, come equipped with a manometer and stethoscope and are considered are easily transported from one place to another. The cuff is placed around your upper arm, and inflated by hand, by squeezing a rubber bulb. Aneroid monitors, such as McKesson Sphygmomanometers have a gauge that displays the blood pressure result by looking at a pointer on a dial.
Semi-Automatic and Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors
Semi-automatic and automatic blood pressure monitors make taking, readying and recording blood pressure results virtually effortless. Digital monitors have either manual or automatic cuffs, with the blood pressure result displaying on an easy to read screen. Similar to the aneroid unit, these monitors have a gauge and stethoscope in one unit. A voice assist monitor, like the HealthSmart Talking Blood Pressure Monitor, offers easy-to-follow instructional prompts to minimize user-error, announces measurements and gives a voice analysis of the results. A memory function will store results; some monitors can store results from two separate users and may also offer averages. These recordings can be very helpful to an individual’s doctor who can review them at their scheduled appointments.
Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff Sizes
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. 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. Blood pressure monitors with wrist or thigh cuffs offer another option for individuals who prefer cuffing their wrist for a result, rather than their arm. 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. A tape measure can be used to determine an individual’s measurement prior to purchasing the monitor.
What Blood Pressure Results Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say "120 over 80" or write "120/80 mmHg."
The chart below shows normal, at-risk, and high blood pressure levels. A blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg is normal. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or more is too high. People with levels in between 120/80 and 140/90 have a condition called prehypertension, which means they are at high risk for high blood pressure.¹
¹Source: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/risk/age/olderAdults.html
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