Can A Tight Blood Pressure Cuff Cause A High Reading
Yes. The machine cant detect how tight the cuff is. It outputs air and inflates the cuff, so if its too tight, it will perceive a higher readout than it is. Additionally, it can pinch your arm and cause inflammation, which may impact the results of the next attempt. Practice with the cuff on your new machine, since no two devices have the same kind.
What Types Of Blood Pressure Monitors Are There
According to Ghazi, the most commonly used is a digital blood pressure monitor in which the process is automatic, aside from placing the cuff on your arm. Both Agarwal and Ghazi dont recommend wrist or finger blood pressure monitors as these arent recommended by the American Heart Association.
For individuals with upper extremity disabilities, Ghazi explains how to monitor your blood pressure safely and effectively. Unfortunately, there have been no validated devices for lower extremity blood pressure measurements, she said. Ankle blood pressure measurement is taken when you are supine has been found to be a viable alternative by the British and Irish Hypertension Society, which recommendsmonitoring blood pressure through the ankles for more comfortability with the cuff.
How The Cuff Should Fit
Proper cuff fit is vital to getting accurate measurements a cuff that is too loose or tight on your arm will lead to an inaccurate reading. To measure your arm for a cuff, youll want to measure the circumference of your mid-upper arm, about halfway between your elbow and shoulder. According to Target:BP, the cuffs lengthwhich wraps around the armshould be roughly 80% of your mid-upper arm measurement. For example, if your arm circumference is 40 cm, your cuff measurement is 32 cm. Cuffs often come in size ranges.
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What Is The Correct Arm Position For Taking Blood Pressure
You have to stretch out your arm with your palm facing upward. Gently straighten your arm without straining your elbow or wrist. Open the cuff and wrap it around your upper arm approximately one inch above the bend line for your elbow.
The tube should lay down your upper arm to your forearm. When you pull the cuff, make sure its tight enough not to fall off but not tight enough to cause numbness.
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Homedics Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Features: automatically inflates and deflates to the appropriate level, multi-user memory, irregular heartbeat and excessive body motion detectors
Battery type: disposable AAA batteries
This monitor stores up to 30 readings for two users each and has a memory averaging function.
In addition to an irregular heartbeat sensor, it has an excessive body motion sensor, which tells you if your movements are strong enough to skew your blood pressure reading results. This helps eliminate false readings.
This monitor has a shorter length cuff than some other monitors. It may not fit people who have very large or thick wrists.
It comes with a 5-year warranty.
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Using The Wrong Cuff Size For Your Arm
Just because the cuff may fit around your arm does not mean it is the right size cuff for you. The correct cuff size is directly related to the circumference of your arm. To get accurate readings, it is important that you are using the correct sized arm cuff. To determine your arm size, use a cloth tape measure and place midway between your elbow and your shoulder around the circumference of your upper arm. Wrap the tape measure evenly around your arm. Do not pull the tape tight. Note the precise measurement in inches. Select an Omron home blood pressure monitor with the right size of cuff included, or if you already have the monitor, and need a different sized cuff, contact our consumer support line at , and they can assist you to purchase the right size accessory cuff for your unit.
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Best Data Display: Omron Platinum Blood Pressure Monitor
Stores 200 data sets per user
Carrying case included
Machine sensitivity makes it prone to error messages
Slight learning curve to understanding the device
Omrons Platinum Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor has a display that stood out during our testing. We rated this device a five out of five for data display because the letters were large and easy to read, and the devices backlit screen makes the data stand out in both light and dark settings. The screen shows your two most recent blood pressure readings, so you can compare data quickly. Additionally, the device is easy to connect to its paired app, which stores 200 readings per user .
Our testers said this device was incredibly easy to set upplug the cuff into the device and youre ready to take your reading. Our testers noted that the Omron Platinum is incredibly sensitive to movement, so movement during a reading will trigger an error message. It took a few trials to figure this out the machine did not explicitly say that the added movement caused the error message to appear. Because of this, we scored this machine a four out of five for ease of use, bringing its overall value rating down slightly to 4.5 out of five.
Average Standard Deviations
Price at time of publish: $79
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
Power Source: Batteries or AC adapter | Maximum Readings Stored on Device: 200 | Number of Users It Can Store Data For: 2 | Weight: 1.01 lbs
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Blood Pressure Risk Indicator
This alerts you to whether your blood pressure reading falls within recommended levels, which could be useful if youre not having your blood pressure regularly monitored by a health professional or if you dont always remember the recommended limits.
But if youre good at monitoring this yourself, you might not want to pay extra for fancier features to keep an eye on whether your blood pressure is within recommended limits.
For more details on blood pressure ranges, have a look at our guide Blood pressure ranges explained and how to measure yours.
The Wrist Cuff Is Positioned Improperly
The positioning of the wrist cuff is just as important than having the correct size or tightness. The wrist cuff I own, the Omron Gold Series, states to position the top edge of the wrist cuff approximately 1/2 from the wrist crease 6.
Once this is done, rotate your forearm around and ensure the cuff is not covering the protruding bone on the topside of your wrist. If it isnt covering it, the cuff location is fine. If the cuff is covering the bone, slide it down until its just below the bone.
Once the positioning is correct, check the tightness of the cuff and make any adjustments if needed. After adjusting the tightness, recheck the cuff distance from the crease and the protruding bone.
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When To See A Doctor
If your readings are in the normal stage, keep up the good work!
If your readings are in the elevated stage, let your doctor know youd like to discuss options, such as lifestyle changes and medication, that may help bring your numbers down.
Consistent readings in the stage 1 or stage 2 high blood pressure categories require medical input. Let your healthcare professional know how many days your readings have been elevated, and what the numbers are. If you have to wait for an appointment, ask your doctor for guidance about lifestyle changes that may help bring those numbers down. These may include reducing salt intake, limiting alcohol, and alleviating stress.
One or more readings in the hypertensive crisis category mean you require immediate care. Call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.
More Blood Pressure Monitors To Consider
We tested the following blood pressure monitors in addition to those in our top choices, but they ultimately fell short when it came to features like ease of use, data display, and set up.
- A& D Medical Advanced Manual Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor: While the monitor is easy to read and displays data clearly, the system is difficult to use for new users.
- Omron Evolv Upper Arm: It scored a 5 in data display and portability, but our tester found the cuff difficult to put on without help.
- Withings BPM Connect: The associated app is easy to use, but information is displayed on the cuff and readings take a while to process.
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How We Reviewed Blood Pressure Monitors
We started our evaluation by looking over prices, user reviews, and doctor recommendations. Here are some things we considered when selecting blood pressure monitors for our list:
- Simple interface: A user-friendly interface with large numbers and big buttons makes it easier to navigate the blood pressure monitor and understand the results.
- Multiple users: A multiple-user feature tracks more than one persons blood pressure, so you can share the monitor with family members and skip the hassle of buying multiple devices.
- Accurate readings: Accuracy is one of the most important things to look for in a blood pressure monitor. We chose only upper arm monitors for our list because they tend to have the best accuracy. Learn more about the different types of blood pressure monitors.
- Memory storage: With high memory storage, you can log your blood pressure readings multiple times a day and over a long period to give your doctor a better picture of your health.
- Advisor recommendations: We asked Sally Russell, MN, CMSRN, CNE, health expert, and educator, to review our selection and suggest one of her own.
Learn about how we rank products by checking out our full methodology.
Healthsmart Premium Series Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
The Premium Series digital wrist blood pressure monitor by HealthSmart is a great choice for someone who has a bilingual home, thanks to its ability to dictate the results of your reading and the average of the last three in both English and Spanish. Independence-loving seniors love this monitor because it has a large, easy to see LCD screen, easy-to-use menu, and simple push-start operation once the monitor is at heart level.
- One-handed operation
- The high contrast LCD screen is backlit for easy reading in the daytime or with no light
- Speaks in English and Spanish
- Records last 120 readings for up to two users
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My Doctor Told Me I Have High Blood Pressure Can I Use My Fitbit Or Smartwatch To Monitor My Blood Pressure
While Fitbits and smartwatches are great for tracking general fitness data, like steps taken and pulse rate, they arent accurate or reliable enough for monitoring high blood pressure. In fact, most heart monitors for exercise only track your heart rate. They simply cant take the correct measurements.
The only proper way to take your blood pressure involves sitting down for at least a few minutes with both feet flat on the floor and your arm resting at heart level. For more recommendations for proper use, see the American Heart Associations recommendations for monitoring your blood pressure.
How We Rated The Blood Pressure Monitors
4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best blood pressure monitors we tested. We recommend them without reservation.
4.5 to 4.7 stars: These blood pressure monitors are excellentthey might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.
4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great blood pressure monitors, but others are better.
3.5 to 3.9 stars: These blood pressure monitors are just average.
3.4 and below: We don’t recommend blood pressure monitors with this rating you won’t find any on our list.
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
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Speaking Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
The Advocate personal wrist blood pressure monitor is a great choice for those that want an accurate, simple-to-use device to keep track of their BP. Large buttons and an easy to navigate system combine with the extra-large and backlit LCD display to provide accurate readings that can be read with ease, despite lighting and visual impairment.
Blood Pressure Monitors We Also Tested
In our Lab test, we evaluated 10 blood pressure monitors, but only included eight on our final list of recommendations. While these two devices fell short in our test when it came to ease of use and delivery of results, they had some helpful features and may be worth considering if none of the monitors on our list are exactly what you’re looking for.
- A& D Medical Advanced Manual Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor: The device is lightweight, but it was confusing to set up and required manual inflation.
- Withings BPM Connect: While the monitor has app connectivity, the process it takes to connect to your smartphone is difficult and it takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds to get a single result.
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The Best Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
A person can measure their blood pressure at home with a wrist blood pressure monitor. These devices may be useful for people with high blood pressure as they can take regular readings and help an individual manage blood pressure accordingly. It may also be possible to share monitor results with a doctor if necessary.
Wrist blood pressure monitors are devices that people use to measure blood pressure levels at home. They are small in size and feature a large screen display, while some can even store a persons previous readings.
Wrist blood pressure monitors measure two types of pressure: systolic and diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure is the top number on a blood pressure reading. It refers to the pressure due to the heart beating that forces blood to pass through the arteries.
Diastolic pressure is the bottom number on a persons blood pressure reading, which measures the pressure due to blood flow between heartbeats.
A blood pressure monitor device comes with a cuff that a person wraps around their arm. This cuff inflates and stops blood flowing through the arteries during the reading. The cuff then starts to deflate, which allows for systolic pressure, allowing blood to continue flowing through the arteries.
Wrist monitors may benefit individuals with arthritis, as they may not be able to use devices with arm cuffs.
What To Look For In A Blood Pressure Monitor
According to Ghazi, its important to use a validated device that has been shown to provide accurate readings. Two resources include ValidateBP and StrideBP.
I recommend selecting home under device type for the ValidateBP site and selecting adults, home, upper arm and automatic oscillometric when searching the StrideBP site, she advises. Other considerations: checking that you have the appropriate cuff size and that the cuff is not snug.
Always take your blood pressure monitor with you when you visit your primary care physician to calibrate the device, in other words, to establish a baseline between readings on your device and office blood pressure readings for future reference, Ghazi tips off.
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How We Tested The Blood Pressure Monitors
The Verywell Health team tested 10 blood pressure monitors at The Verywell Testing Lab to see how they performed amongst a few key attributes, including setup, fit, accuracy, ease of use, data display, portability, and value. We chose these attributes because we believe that they are most aligned with the priorities of someone shopping for a blood pressure. All of the products we tested have been validated by the American Medical Association.
Our five testers, which included three Verywell Health editors and a nurse practitioner, tested 10 blood pressure monitors over the course of eight hours. Following the American Heart Associations guidelines for blood pressure monitor use, we asked our testers to fast for 30 minutes before both the morning and afternoon tests. These are the recommended times to take blood pressure readings, so we scheduled our day accordingly. Additionally, each tester sat with both feet on the ground and fit the cuff around their bare upper arm for every test.
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
A Small Cordless Design Makes It Especially Portable
- Clinically validated: Clinically validated and FDA cleared
- Key features: Cordless, compact, comes with a hard-shell case, syncs with app
A lot of heart rate monitors are fairly portable, especially smart monitors like this one that arent attached to a display via hoses or cables. But the Withings BPM Connect also comes ready for the road thanks to the included hard-shell case. The whole thing is compact, easily tossed into any bag, case or backpack.
No matter where you choose to use it, the Withings is especially easy to set up. Yes, this is a smart cuff that works with an excellent app for both iPhone and Android, but you dont need the phone to be nearby to take a reading. Just press the button on the cuff, then see the results, color coded for clarity. If your phone isnt nearby, no worries: It can upload your results to the cloud via Wi-Fi. That said, the app provides useful additional context for your results, integrates with the iPhones Apple Health service and lets you check your history and share data with your doctor or others. It also comes FDA cleared and validated right out of the box.
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