This post was written in collaboration with Alex Krav of Baron Medical
Choosing the right home blood pressure monitor (BP monitor) can be a dizzying process
When searching ‘blood pressure monitor’ on Google, and there’s an overwhelming number of types and versions available.
You have everything from the standard arm-band monitor, to the wristband monitor, to fingertip applications, to computer-integrated mini-computers. The huge number of options is as intimidating as trying to figure out what kind of pizza to order in a pizzeria (if you’re like me).
The very first thing to keep in mind is that although the sheer number of options out there may be intimidating, that the fact that there are so many choices means that you can find the one that is perfect for you.
Companies and manufacturers are keeping you in mind when they’re making their devices—all you have to do is select the one you like best!
Whether you’re further along in the process of narrowing down your options or even you’re not quite sure where to start, here are four easy ways to determine which one is right for you.
1. Make Sure the Device is Tested and Approved
First and foremost, you want to be able to accurately determine your blood pressure. That is, of course, what you’re buying a blood pressure monitor for. This goes before any convenience or promises that the device manufacturers give you—you want to know your blood pressure.
There are several independent medical device associations that exist to test device capabilities and ensure that you get the accuracy you need.
The most trusted of those organizations is The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), which publishes yearly standards and lists of devices that fit those measurements.
A good device manufacturer would publish whether a proposed product adheres to AAMI standards in the items description, but, if not, be sure to check for yourself.
2. Get the Right Monitor for Your Physical Conditions
Just like performance sports gear, BP monitors come in different physical sizes for children, pregnant women and other individual circumstances.
There really is no “one size fits all” in the world of BP monitors, so on the hunt for a blood pressure monitor, it’s important to keep yourself in mind.
The measurement specifications for many devices have carefully tailored adjustments in specifications and modes of operation to provide the most useful information possible for your body type and physique, which is important since blood pressure can be inaccurately represented if the BP monitor isn’t right for you.
When going through available devices, ensure that the device is the right fit for you. You’re going to be using this device for a while, so it’s best to invest time into research what works for you.
Some monitors even come with an app to connect with your mobile phone to help you record your blood pressure. But if your looking for simplicity, ease-of-use, convenience and integration with your hospital or clinic we recommend Hello Heart. It works with any home blood pressure monitor and is available for both iPhone and Apple Watch.
Finding your BP monitor from the many that are out there is not quite like finding “the one” but it’s good to remember to keep your priorities in mind.
There are enough devices out there that you shouldn’t have to be adapting too much in order to use the device. So definitely remember to put yourself first!
3. Do You Need Additional Features?
One way to narrow down the number of options that you have, aside from narrowing down based on your body type, is to consider how you plan to use your BP monitor.
For example: Would you be the primary user of the monitor or will you be helping someone else use the monitor? Would you want a device that can record the time and day that you take the blood pressure measurement in case you forget? Or maybe you want a device that does more than just blood pressure and measures your pulse and other health readings?
Today’s monitors come not only in every shape and size, but also in hundreds of variations to fit your exact situation. Whether it’s an optional two-person mode to be worked with a family member, a simple one-button design, plug-in capacity that can work with your computer or cell phone, or additional functions such as detecting atrial defibrillation, there is a monitor that can suit your daily needs.
4. Consult Your Physician
Only you and your doctor truly know your physical circumstances and needs.
Your physician has vast amounts of knowledge and experience and can help advise you on the BP monitor type that might be best for you.
Consult your doctor with the above questions as well as any other considerations that you have in mind, and find out how you can secure a healthy future with the right monitor.
Final Word: Keep Track of the Latest News
The Tech Age has provided a flood of new types of BP monitors and tracking solutions. Some of these new monitors may better suit your needs or may just be cool enough to make you want to try them out.
On the tracking side, Hello Heart (iOS, Android)! Hello Heart is a free app offered for iOS and Android devices that helps you to track day-to-day blood pressure readings as well as visualize and understand trends over time. It even gives you feed back on your readings! Hello Heart (iOS, Android) also allows you to import your own patient data from your clinic and hospital visits to help you form a much more comprehensive understanding of your own health information.
There’s no harm in finding out more. Keeping track of the latest trends keeps you updated on the fascinating technology developments that occur almost every week. You also can keep an eye out for reviews written by others about the BP monitors coming out as well as recommendations from medical device associations.
If you are already leaning toward any devices, congratulations for making the choice! Just be sure to check with your doctor and confirm that your device adheres to AAMI standards before you make your purchase.
Good luck in finding “the one!” and let us know if you need help.