Monitoring your blood pressure is a must these days, and this is true for everyone. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep track of your health, while also alerting you of any possible condition that might arise.
Luckily, you don’t have to keep going to the doctor’s office just to get your blood pressure reading. Buying a BP monitor does not need any prescription, so you can easily buy one at your local pharmacy or any store which sells medical equipment.
But now the question is this: what blood pressure equipment do you need?
To answer that question, we have to take a look at each equipment, its accompanying accessories, and why you need it.
Aneroid Arm Monitors
Aneroid blood pressure monitors have three main parts: the cuff, the bulb, and the gauge. You use it by wrapping the cuff around your upper arm, at your heart’s level, and then manually inflating it with the bulb.
As it inflates, your eyes should be fixated on the needle in the gauge. Usually, you begin to deflate it slowly once the needle points to 180. For those who have a record of having extremely high blood pressure, you can go above 180.
To deflate, make sure that you’re only turning the valve for about 2 millimeters per second – otherwise, you run the risk of inaccurate readings.
Additional Equipment: An additional equipment you need to check your BP using an aneroid monitor is a stethoscope. The disc of the stethoscope must be placed on your antecubital space – or the crease opposite your elbow. This will help you listen to your heartbeat while monitoring the movement of the needle in the gauge.
Why this is what you need: Aneroid arm monitors are noted for its accurate readings. Since the use of mercury sphygmomanometers are considered unsafe, and even barred from some countries, medical professionals have since then switched to using aneroid monitors. They’re also really affordable, so you don’t have to break the bank to buy one.
A notable downside is that you can’t take your blood pressure by yourself if you’re using this BP equipment. You have to ask for the assistance of a friend who can inflate the cuff, monitor the valve, and listen to your heartbeat.
Digital Arm Monitors or Blood Pressure Equipment What do you need?
Digital arm monitors are the modern alternatives of the aneroid ones. They similarly use an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm. Depending on the model, inflation can be made manually or automatically through the machine itself.
Through electronic calculations, these digital BP monitors automatically deflate once it has recorded your blood pressure. Your reading is either flashed on its screen or is printed out, making it easier for us to use.
Additional Equipment: A digital BP equipment does not need any other equipment. Since it uses oscillometric measurements to check your blood pressure, you don’t need a stethoscope to listen to your heartbeat.
Why this is what you need: digital monitors come in handy if you don’t have anyone living at home with you. It’s really easy to use, and you just have to wait for the machine to show you your results. Updated versions of this equipment are also capable of providing you additional features like warning you for possible health conditions and recording your data.
Digital monitors, however, are not as accurate as their aneroid alternatives. Nevertheless, they would reveal the margin of error in their recordings, so users are given a good estimate of what their blood pressure is. They can also be quite expensive, so you have to really look for one with the features that work best for you, and which can give you the best value for your money.
Another modern alternative is wrist monitors. These monitors similarly have an inflatable cuff – but instead of wrapping them around your arm, you put it around your wrist. Wrist monitors are also digital, so you just have to push a button, wait for it to inflate, and your blood pressure reading will just flash on the screen.
Additional equipment: Like the digital arm monitors, these wrist monitors do not need any additional equipment to check your blood pressure. Everything is electronically calculated, so you just have to sit and relax as you wait for your BP readings.
Why this is what do you need: Wrist monitors are incredibly portable. You can easily shove them inside your bag, so you can take it with you all the time. People with active lifestyles will find this useful since they can monitor their BP wherever they may be. People with sensitive muscles around the arms – or those with larger arms which cuffs can’t wrap around – will also find this BP equipment useful.
A common problem with wrist monitors, however, is their inaccurate readings. It checks your blood pressure from the radial artery, while those that go around your arm check your brachial artery. Additionally, since the cuff is wrapped around the wrist, it’s not at the recommended heart-level – and this awkward position leads to high margins of error.
They can also be quite expensive, though not as expensive as the newer models of digital arm monitors.