More and more people are being encouraged to check their blood pressure at home. By doing so, this allows people to keep a regular check on their own health instead of having to repeatedly visit the doctor in order to have their blood pressure taken. The intention behind this move being that it provides convenience to both doctors and patients.
Home Blood Pressure Monitors
Although there are two main types of blood pressure monitor available, manual and automatic, the majority of people these days tend to choose automatic blood pressure monitors because they are more convenient and are easier to use. Additionally, patients are often advised to use devices with automatically inflating arm cuff and large digital readout.
Whilst automatic blood pressure monitors are known to be more accurate than manual blood pressure monitors, their efficiency has still been brought into question in recent times. The problem with this is that many doctors do now at least partly rely on home readings in order to guide the treatment they provide to their patients. Additionally, there are also several other factors which influence the accuracy of the readings which many people who use such devices are unaware of.
Accuracy of Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors
According to kidney specialist from Ottawa Hospital in Canada, Dr. Swapnil Hiremath, between 5% to 15% of home blood pressure monitors may actually be inaccurate. According to Dr. Hiremath’s observations, the systolic pressure which is the first reading taken by a device was off by 5 mm Hg in 30% of cases and the second reading, diastolic pressure, was off by 21 mm Hg in one patient.
Similar observations have been made by Dr. Johanna Landgraf, Dr. Stanley Wishner and Dr. Robert Kloner who had their research paper published in American Journal of Cardiology. Alternatively, research carried out by Dr. Martin G. Myers and Scott Scargle, OEM Technology Manager at SunTech, supports the accuracy and efficiency of automatic blood pressure monitors and suggests that all manual devices should be replaced with automatic ones.
The research also suggests that perceived inaccuracies are due to blood pressure levels being variable. Blood pressure levels tend to be different at different times of day and depend on the circumstances. There doesn’t therefore seem to be a general consensus on exactly how accurate automatic best blood pressure monitor really are but there is no doubt that they are better than manual ones.
Improving Accuracy of Readings
To help improve the accuracy of blood pressure readings using home devices, it is advised that a device with an automatically inflating arm cuff and large digital readout is used. Caffeine should be avoided and smokers should refrain from smoking for thirty minutes before testing. To read more about this click here
Readings should also be taken at the same time each day and sitting and relaxing for five minutes before testing can also improve the accuracy of the results. It has also been suggested that taking three readings then averaging the results can also help improve the accuracy of the test.