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How Accurate Are Home Blood Pressure Machines

Are The Readings Different Between An Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor And A Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

The best home blood pressure monitors

It is quite possible that your readings may be different from your upper arm to your wrist as blood pressure varies throughout the human body. All Omron blood pressure monitors, whether upper arm or wrist, are validated in the same manner and have the same accuracy specifications. In terms of which type of blood pressure monitor is best for you, we recommend that you discuss this with your doctor, based on your individual needs.

For more information on Omrons line of upper arm and wrist home blood pressure monitors, click below:

My Doctor Wants To Compare The Reading From My Home Bp Monitor With The Reading Taken In The Office What Are The Instructions On How To Do This

When doing this type of a comparison, it is very important that the measurements are taken in a certain manner in order for the reading on the Omron monitor to be accurate. The Omron monitor uses oscillometric technology that measures the vibration of the blood as it moves through the arteries. The doctor is using a different method of measurement and listens to the sound of your heart. It is necessary for the doctor to take the first measurement using the Omron monitor. The brachial artery is fully open and not restricted so vibration of the blood is accurately measured. It is also important to note that the different test methods may give slightly different readings due to the test methods or due to the normal fluctuation in blood pressure.

How Accurate Are Drugstore Blood Pressure Machines

Image: Bigstock

Q. My doctor recommended I routinely check my blood pressure between office visits. Are pharmacy blood pressure machines accurate?

A. If you are able to obtain an electronic home blood pressure monitor, this is a better option than a store-based machine. There are number of concerns about the accuracy of these machines, which are located in pharmacies or grocery stores.

The first is their one-size-fits-all approach. One of the most important factors in obtaining an accurate blood pressure reading is proper cuff size. There are three common cuff sizes ranging from 22 centimeters to 44 cm. An improper cuff size can lower or raise the blood pressure reading.

Another issue relates to the maintenance of these machines. Currently, there are no requirements to test their accuracy. Previous studies have suggested the machines become less reliable after a few years.

Also keep in mind that blood pressure should be measured after you have sat quietly for about five minutes, with your arm resting at heart level on a table or armrest. This is often not the case when you rush through a grocery store.

Your best bet is to invest in an electronic home blood pressure machine, which often costs about $40 to $60. Make sure to buy a machine with an arm cuff, which is more accurate than a wrist cuff. Bring your machine to your doctor’s office to compare its reading to their measurement.

William Kormos, MD

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Buying Guide For Best Blood Pressure Monitors

The best way to stay healthy is through diligence.

You can purchase a manual or automatic model, but having a memory so you can compare previous readings is recommended. Even better, purchase a wireless monitor that comes with an app.

We’ve listed some of our favorite blood pressure monitors. If you’d like to learn more about what these devices have to offer and how they can positively impact your life, keep reading.

Best Home Blood Pressure Monitors

Blood Pressure Monitor

1. Omron Platinum BP5450

  • Type: Wireless upper arm BP monitor
  • Features:
  • Validated by the American Heart Association for clinical accuracy
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Horizontally designed, backlit dual-display monitor
  • Good storage capacity
  • Can store readings separately for 2 users
  • TruRead technology
  • High morning average indicator
  • Wide-range D-ring cuff that fits arms 9 to 17 inches in circumference

2. Care Touch Fully Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff Monitor, Platinum Series

  • Type: Wrist BP monitor
  • Can measure BP and heartbeat rate with wrist circumference ranging from 5.5 to 8.5 inches
  • Can detect an irregular heartbeat
  • Turns off automatically when no activity is detected
  • Can store up to 60 readings
  • Large liquid crystal display
  • Gives BP reading in 60 seconds

Although the American Heart Association does not recommend using wrist or finger BP monitors, these gadgets may be used if you can’t have your BP measured at the upper arm, whether because your arm is too large or you find arm cuffs painful.

Readings from a wrist BP monitor may be higher, since the wrist arteries are narrower and not as deep as those of the upper arm.

3. Omron evolve

  • Type: wireless upper arm BP monitor
  • Features:
  • Validated by the American Heart Association for clinical accuracy
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Can store unlimited readings when used with the app
  • Suitable for larger arms since the cuff extends from circumferences of 9 to 17 inches

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Our Pick: Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor + Kit 0602

May be out of stock

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.

Flaws But Not Dealbreakers

While the 0604 can run on either battery power or with an AC adapter, unless there are working batteries installed, the machines date and time reset every time its unplugged. This doesnt affect the storage capacity on the app or device, but it does add a few extra seconds to testing time, which normally requires just a single click of the start button, and dates can become jumbled if programmed improperly .

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Do You Need An Upper Arm Cuff Or Wrist Mount Blood Pressure Monitor

The majority of blood pressure monitors are the upper-arm cuff type, but we’re seeing an increase in wrist cuff models, which look a little bit like an overly chunky wrist watch. Despite not finding much difference in accuracy between upper arm and wrist cuff models when used exactly as directed, the medical community considers the wrist cuff models much less accurate so we don’t recommend them.

Arm cuff models typically also have a larger, easier to read display, though if you’re using an app-based monitor then it’s the same no matter what style you choose.

A Note About Accuracy

Verify: Are blood pressure machines in stores accurate?

Because blood pressure can fluctuate greatly in response to movement, medication, and other factors, we decided we did not have the resources to give a valid accuracy rating. Instead, we determined each devices reading consistency.

We calculated the standard deviation of the back-to-back systolic and diastolic readings on each device. We did this for both the morning and afternoon tests we’ve included the average standard deviations for each device listed above. Dr. Sheikh advised that devices with standard deviation readings of 10 or less would be considered consistent. Devices with standard deviations greater than 10 did not make our list.

Verywell Health / Nick Kova

Throughout both tests, the testers took thorough notes on how the cuff fit around their arm, how easy the results were to access and understand, whether or not the device was easily portable, any other features that would either lessen or enhance the devices overall value. They then ranked the product for these attributes on a scale of one to five , which was then used to calculate the monitors overall value score.

The overall value score was subjective some attributes were more important than others . We averaged all of the attribute scores, which is reflected in the star rating next to each product.

Verywell Health / Nick Kova

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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.

When To Call A Doctor

Speaking of doctors, as a final note, keep in mind that blood pressure measurements taken at home can vary from professional measurements at the doctor’s office, so be sure to call your doctor if and seek medical attention right away if you:

  • Have a blood pressure reading of 200 or more
  • Experience blurry vision, chest pain, or stroke symptoms

Dr. Nguyen also stresses that it’s important to have a detailed conversation with your doctor if you’re using an at-home blood pressure monitor to get specific instructions on what to do with an elevated blood pressure reading. He points out that for someone with high blood pressure, a higher reading like 170 could be “normal,” while for someone else, that reading could be dangerously high. For instance, the American Heart Association recommends contacting your doctor immediately for any systolic reading over 180.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about how the patient feels,” Dr. Nguyen adds. “So the patient may feel very awful with just a blood pressure of 160 or 170, or they may not feel anything. It depends on the conversation and their symptoms.”

In other words, before you buy a blood pressure monitor and cuff, be sure to have that conversation with your doctor so you can know what to do in the event of a high-for-you blood pressure reading.

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Greater Goods Bp Monitor: Best For Budgets

Accessible display

The large LCD screen makes this home blood pressure monitor incredibly user friendly. The numbers and buttons are big, so you wont need glasses to see your results. Most online customers rave about this monitors accuracy, so you can trust that the results will greatly assist your doctor in managing your blood pressure.

Smaller cuff than other monitors

It has a comfortable cuff thats easy to put on and fits on most arm sizes . This blood pressure machine also comes with a handy carrying bag that holds the monitor and its accessories. This is ideal for tossing in your bag for a doctor’s appointment or packing before a road trip.

Theres not much memory storage, so you wont be able to keep an in-depth log. This Greater Goods blood pressure monitor holds no more than 60 records each for two users. Still, we think this is the best blood pressure monitor for most folks.

The Greater Goods Bluetooth BP Monitor has all of the original BP monitors features but also comes with a Bluetooth connection. This means you can track your readings with a smartphone. It costs about $10 more than the non-Bluetooth edition.

Choose A Clinically Validated Monitor

RENPHO Blood Pressure Monitor Upper Arm for Home Use with ...

If a machine is clinically validated, this means it has been tested to make sure it gives results that are accurate and reliable, so you and your doctor can trust them.

The British and Irish Hypertension Society have a list of clinically validated home blood pressure monitors on their website, as well as a list of monitors for use in clinic.

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How Do I Measure My Arm Circumference

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. Determine which size cuff is best for you, then purchase a home blood pressure monitor with that size cuff included.

View a short video on selecting the right d-ring cuff.

Not Using The Cuff Correctly

Make sure you are wrapping the cuff around your arm in the correct position. After wrapping the cuff around your arm, check the location of the brachial artery marker. The air tube should run down the center of your arm. The cuff should not be wrapped too tight or too loose. Look at the instruction manual for the monitor to get more detailed instructions on the specific cuff included with your unit.

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What About Data Privacy And Security

For most home blood pressure monitors, including our two Bluetooth picks, the companion apps and software arent subject to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules. This means that the data they collect isnt legally protected, nor is its use regulated in the same way as other health data .

Greater Goods and Omron, the makers of our picks, require you to create an online account in order to use their monitors wireless data-transfer capabilities. Doing so means providing the respective companies with personal details like your name, date of birth, email address, and more. Keep in mind that if you choose to send your data from the appwhether Greater Goodss Balance Health or Omron Connectto another service, such as Apple Health, youre relying on yet another entity to keep your data secure.

According to the Omron Connect apps privacy policy, Omron can share de-identified information with researchers and other third parties, and may disclose any information related to your account or use of its blood pressure monitor with law enforcement authorities in response to a court order or a subpoena. Similarly, Greater Goodss privacy policy notes that it does not share your info with researchers or other third parties, but may release account and other personal information when … appropriate to comply with the law.

Withings Bpm Connect Wi

Welch Allyn Home BP Monitor – How to Take an Accurate Reading
  • BLOOD PRESSURE systolic and diastolic plus heart rate
  • MEDICALLY ACCURATE FDA cleared device
  • EASY TO READ & UNDERSTAND immediate results with a color-coded feedback on the LED screen of the device.Materials:PC plastic,Fabric
  • WI-FI & BLUETOOTH SYNC automatic data sync to the Health Mate app
  • FSA ELIGIBLE Flexible Spending Account funds can be used to cover the costs of this device
  • RECHARGEABLE BATTERY 6 months of use of the product with one charge
  • UNLIMITED DATA STORAGE free & unlimited access to your data history
  • WORKS WITH APPLE HEALTH automatically retrieve your blood pressure data on Apple Health

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What Are The Common Causes Of Getting Blood Pressure Readings That Are Inaccurate

It is quite normal for peoples blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may take your blood pressure. Many things, such as stress levels, food or drink intake, activity levels, even time of day can all affect a persons blood pressure reading at any given time. So, it is possible that you may just be seeing normal fluctuations in blood pressure.

However, below are some common situations that can lead to inconsistent or inaccurate readings:

Features To Look For In A Blood Pressure Monitor

Cuff size

Upper arm style monitors generally come with a medium sized cuff as standard. While this will be suitable for the majority of users, if you’ve got exceptionally large or small arms then look for one which has different sized cuffs available. To find the right size cuff for you, measure your arm’s circumference halfway between your shoulder and elbow while standing with your arm hanging at your side. A circumference of 1822cm requires a small cuff, 2232cm requires a medium cuff, and above 32cm you’ll need a large cuff but check the measurements against the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you intend to buy.

Wrist cuff monitors are usually one size fits all.

Display

Make sure the monitor’s buttons and display are easy for you to read and use. Upper arm cuff style monitors will generally have larger, easier to read displays than their wrist cuff counterparts. If your vision isn’t the best then you may even want to consider the Pharmacy Care monitor which speaks your results out loud, but it does become tiresome after a few uses.

Adjustable inflation level

The cuff has to be inflated to a level above the systolic blood pressure, but the automatic inflation setting might be a lot higher and it could be uncomfortable. Some models have an adjustable inflation level so you can program the pressure.

Memory with date and time stamps

Blood pressure data averaging

Mains power adapter

Irregular heart rate display

Hypertension indicator

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