How To Read Blood Pressure Readings
When reading a blood pressure result, there are two numbers that measure two different aspects of your blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Systolic, the top number, is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating, while diastolic, the bottom number, is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats.
Your blood pressure reading will show up as one number on top , a line, and then one number underneath the line . Acceptable readings will vary for individuals, but a healthy blood pressure level is generally considered to be 120/80 mm Hg or lower.
However, prior to using any type of home blood pressure monitor, a patient should have a discussion with his or her primary care provider about what readings are concerning and what to do if he or she gets those readings, says Dr. Feda.
Still, certain readings should be considered warning signs. If your blood pressure is over 180 systolic and in the range of 110-120 diastolic, that is an emergency that needs to be addressed and acted upon quickly, says Dr. Avetian. If you receive a reading in this range, contact your doctor immediately.
Best Overall: Omron Upper Arm Gold Blood Pressure Monitor
Stores 100 data sets per user
Results available in under 30 seconds
Only supports two users
Bluetooth feature does not provide much additional information
What do buyers say? 90% of 2,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
When we looked at our most important attributes: ease of use, fit, and data display, the Omron Upper Arm Gold Blood Pressure Monitor received a five out of five in every category. We found that it was not only easy to fit and position on your arm, but it gave extremely clear, straightforward data in less than a minute.
The Omron Gold only requires two steps to set up: insert the four included AA batteries and attach the cuff to the monitor. The cuff itself is large enough to accommodate a range of arm sizes, but the most impressive feature of this device is how straightforward its instructions are. Once the cuff is around your arm, press the start button and wait for about 30 seconds until your blood pressure and heart rate reading appear on the screen.
While this monitor is great for quick readings and taking on the go , its Bluetooth feature is a bit clunky and difficult to navigate easily. We ultimately found that was a fair trade off for a device so versatile and easy to use, thus receiving our vote for Best Overall blood pressure monitor.
Average Standard Deviations
Price at time of publish: $95
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
Blood Pressure Data Averaging
Some blood pressure monitors have a data averaging function this usually means the machine will average the last three or so readings for you. There are variations on this for example, showing data on a graph rather than, or as well as, numerically or averaging data over a longer period.
Data averaging could be very useful if youre tracking blood pressure over time and sharing results with a health professional, or have an additional risk factor, such as diabetes.
But if you are a dab hand at Microsoft Excel, you could equally summarise your data with a spreadsheet or even using old-fashioned pen and paper.
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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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Find The Best Blood Pressure Monitor For You In 5 Easy Steps
Whether your doctor has asked you to start monitoring your blood pressure at home or youre just being proactive, finding the best blood pressure monitor for you will help you get the most accurate results.
With so many types of blood pressure monitors on the market today, this can feel a little bit like Goldilocks trying to find her perfect bowl of porridge!
But have no fear here are five simple steps to finding your just right monitor.
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Omron 3 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Review
The Omron 3 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor is supplied with a cuff that fits wrists 5 1/4 to 8 1/2 in circumference.
Additional features include one-touch operation, a 60-reading memory, and clear systolic and diastolic readings via the large LCD screen.
But how does it compare to some of Omrons more popular devices, like the 7 Series or 10 Series?
In our review, well take a close look at the design features, ease of use, accuracy, and customer feedback. This is to decide whether the Omron 3 Series Wrist is the best home blood pressure monitor for you.
How To Read Your Measurement
Blood pressure monitors often display three numbers: systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, and current heart rate. Blood pressure readings are presented as two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure tells you how much pressure your blood is putting on artery walls with each heartbeat. Diastolic pressurethe bottom numbertells you how much pressure blood is putting on artery walls at rest, in between beats.
While your doctor can provide more information about what readings you should expect, the American Heart Association has resources on what normal, elevated, and hypertension blood pressure levels look like. Healthy blood pressure is generally a measurement below 120/90 mmHg and above 90/60 mmHg.
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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 percent 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.
Top 5 Best Blood Pressure Monitors
The Omron Platinum Bluetooth blood pressure monitor is also very accurate because it uses advanced averaging and TruRead technology. Advanced averaging gives an average result of your last three consecutive tests for more consistent results. TrueRead takes advanced averaging a step further by performing all three pressure readings during the same session. Its not as fast as a regular test but helps provide precise results.
Useful Alexa skill
Yep, we were thinking the same thing: “Why would I want an Alexa-compatible blood pressure monitor?” It turns out that Alexa’s pretty good at math, and you can ask her a ton of questions about your blood pressure after buying a compatible BPM from Omron enabling the free Omron Health skill.
Here are just a few things you can ask:6
- “Alexa, what was my blood pressure average this month?”
- “Alexa, compare this month’s blood pressure readings to last month’s readings.”
- “Alexa, how many blood pressure readings were stage one this month?”
- “Alexa, what are the guidelines for taking a blood pressure reading?”
Don’t have an Alexa-enabled smart hub? Check out to get started.
If you want a cheaper unit from Omron, check out the Omron Silver, one of the highest-rated blood pressure monitors on the market. It isnt as accurate as the Omron Platinum, but it has a more comfortable cuff and still uses advanced averaging.
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How To Get The Most Accurate Reading Using A Blood Pressure Monitor
A blood pressure monitor can be a helpful tool to monitor your health at home, but you have to make sure youre using it right. Paz shares these tips for getting the most accurate reading:
- Check the fit: Make sure the cuff will fit your armmeasure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff. A cuff thats too large or small will lead to an inaccurate reading.
- Relax: Before checking your blood pressure, empty your bladder and rest calmly for five to 10 minutes.
- Roll up your sleeves: Do not take your measurement over clothes.
- Assume proper posture: For the reading, sit with your arms resting on a table and keep your feet and legs uncrossed.
- Dont panic: If you get an abnormal reading, dont panicwait a few minutes and take it again.
- Stay consistent: Take your reading at the same time each day so it is easier to track patterns. First thing in the morning and before bed are common times to measure.
Buying Guide For Best Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors
The ability to quickly and efficiently gauge blood pressure is useful for those with specific ailments like heart conditions or hypertension. Whether your doctor has requested that you take your blood pressure regularly or youre taking a proactive approach to your own well-being, its vital to choose the right unit and use it correctly in order to receive accurate readings. A wrist blood pressure monitor can be a valuable tool for monitoring your health.
While wrist monitors can be less accurate than blood pressure monitors worn around the bicep, they are more accessible and easy to use. These types of blood pressure monitors utilize battery power to take automatic readings and minimize user error.
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How Accurate Are Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors
You may have heard rumors that wrist or upper arm blood pressure monitors may be preferred for different reasons but you have one main question: can you trust wrist blood pressure monitors?
Theres no denying that the most accurate blood pressure readings are done with an upper-arm cuff in your doctors office. However, if used as directed , readings from clinically validated wrist cuffs are just as accurate as at-home readings from upper-arm cuffs.
Which provides the perfect segue to our next question
Wrist Monitors Vs Arm Monitors For Blood Pressure
It is possible that the reading on the monitor attached to your wrist will be higher than the reading on the monitor attached to your arm because the cuff that is used on your arm is larger and exerts more force on your blood vessels. In addition, arm monitors provide measurements of blood pressure that are more precise over time.
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Our Pick: Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor + Kit 0602
You save $11
If you dont need or want a Bluetooth monitor, the Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor + Kit 0602 has the same cuff, minimal noise levels, two-user maximum, irregular heartbeat detection, and dual-power options as its Bluetooth-enabled counterpart, with a slightly different display. Like the 0604, this blood pressure monitor is usable immediately out of the box, and switching between userswhile not as easy as with the 0604requires only a couple of button pushes.
Like the 0604, the 0602 runs quietly and displays results for about a minute after delivering your reading. Unlike the 0604, the 0602 is unable to average any measurements, though it can store up to 60 entries per user, if you want to calculate your averages manually. There is no way to export your readings via email, USB, Bluetooth, or any other meansyoull need to write them down or log them digitally on your own.
While the 0602 can work on either battery power or with an AC adapter, unless there are working batteries installed, it resets the date and time every time its unplugged. When this happens, previous readings stay in the machine, but its possible to jumble dates and times if a user is rushed and simply clicks through without properly selecting the month, year, day, hour, and minute.
When set up correctly, the 0602 requires two clicks to start, even when theres only one user on the device, versus the 0604s single click.
Why Do You Need A Blood Pressure Monitor For Home Use
Blood pressure is the force that blood creates when it pushes against the artery walls as it is pumped from the heart. If the pressure increases and stays high over a period of time, it can damage the body in many ways causing serious health problems. The ultra-dynamic modern life has been leading to unhealthy life style. With lots of junk foods and less exercises, we are building bigger health risk factors in our life. Our eating habit, too much stress, and other factors could increase our risk high blood pressure. Since hypertension or blood pressure is often referred to a silent killer and affects 1 of 4 Americans, it is important for us to detect any symptom of it to allow us get immediate treatment. This is the reason why we need to know what our blood pressure is and why a good blood pressure monitor is necessary in maintaining proper health.
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Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
The Omron ultra silent 7 Series wrist blood pressure monitor is slim and more discrete for readings anywhere you go.
Ultra-Silent Inflation for Easy and Discreet Use
Displays precise digital BP and pulse readings on backlit screen with large digits. Also detects irregular heartbeats.
Best With Talking Feature: A& d Premier Talking Blood Pressure Monitor
The A& D Premier Talking Blood Pressure Monitor is another great option for visually impaired users. This blood pressure monitor features an audio setting that reads out instructions, results, and a brief data analysis in English, Spanish, or French.
Our testers said that the setup for this device was simple, and the cuff fits nicely and can accommodate upper arms with a diameter between 9 and 14.6 inches. The talking function activates at the push of the start button, and guides the user throughout the process while also displaying the results on the devices screen.
The monitors screen isnt well lit, so it might be hard to see results in darker settings. That being said, it overcompensates for this through its talking feature, so youll be able to get your results regardless. The devices perfect five out of five scores in every attribute resulted in a five out of five overall value score.
Average Standard Deviations
Price at time of publish: $81
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
Power Source: Batteries or AC adapter | Maximum Readings Stored on Device: 90 | Number of Users It Can Store Data For: 1 | Weight: .66 lbs
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Omron 7 Series Wireless Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
- Clinically validated: Clinically validated
- Key features: On-screen guidance, detects irregular heartbeats, hypertension warning, syncs with app
Most blood pressure monitorsboth in the doctors office and at homecuff your upper arm, and for good reason. The American Heart Association specifically recommends upper arm measurements because thats the most accurate way to get a reading. But upper arm cuffs dont work for everyone if youre injured or there are other physical limitations keeping you from taking your blood pressure that way, you can consider the wrist to be Plan B.
The Omron 7 Series wrist monitor is a single unit that integrates the controls and display on the wrist-mounted cuff. Its clinically validated and has on-screen guidance to help you take the reading with your wrist in the right position and at the proper level compared to your heart. It also detects irregular heartbeats and has a hypertension warning that appears when your systolic measurement exceeds 130.
You can store a history of up to 90 readings on the Omron 7 Series, and it optionally connects to your iOS or Android phone via Bluetooth to store an unlimited number of readings in the Omron app.
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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Should I Buy A Used Blood Pressure Monitor
While many used blood pressure monitors are available, its a good idea to buy a new one. The accuracy and reliability of your blood pressure monitor can determine your hypertension care course and may save your life. You want to make sure your machine works correctly.
To check how accurate your monitor is, you can take it to your doctors office and see how it compares with their results.
Use Care And Maintenance
For the most accurate blood pressure readings, you need to test consistently using a properly fitting cuff. It should be snug but not tight according to our physician sources, a poorly fitting cuff can distort your reading. Many blood pressure monitors come with cuffs of different sizes, so choose the one that fits the circumference of your arm.
Its also important to test under controlled conditions, ideally around the same time each day. Sit upright with your back supported and both feet on the floor. Dont cross your legs. Ideally, before taking a reading, you should keep the cuff on the arm for five minutes without moving or talking.
When you unpack a monitor, you generally have to insert the batteries and connect the cuff to the monitor. If you dont use batteries, youll need an AC adapter only some models come with one .
Avoid pulling on the tube, dropping the monitor, or banging it around. These devices arent fragile, but they are calibrated machines that can get out of whack. Inside each cuff is a bladder that inflates and deflates to take your blood pressure. If the bladder is punctured or doesnt work, you need to replace the cuff. The Velcro holding the cuff together will wear over time, so when it no longer maintains a good hold, you should replace it, even if the bladder is fine. If the cuff is slipping off of your arm, it is not a good fit, said Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell, the ob-gyn.
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