Common Sources Of Error In Blood Pressure Monitoring
The American Heart Association recommends that a cuff bladder width be 40% of the arm circumference and that a cuff bladder length be 80% of the arm circumference.¹
Lifesource: Best Cuff Size Options
We like the LifeSource extra large cuff because it fits arms that are too big for every other BP monitor on our list . This is great for people with particularly muscular builds because they dont have to settle for less accurate readings from a wrist- or finger-type blood pressure monitor.
LifeSource is one of the most accurate blood pressure monitor brands on the market, with countless online reviews praising its accuracy. Another nice feature is that it alerts you if it detects irregular heartbeat patterns so you can contact your doctor or seek medical attention if it becomes a problem. Still, this feature isnt unique to LifeSource since all of the BP monitors we recommend have it.
One big miss on this blood pressure monitor is the memory storage. It stores only up to 60 readings, which is average compared to other monitors on the market. While this is acceptable on cheaper devices, its not great on a single-user device that costs over $100.
Ultimately, we think this is an excellent option if you dont fit the average arm circumference of most people.
If you have a slender build with thin arms, check out the LifeSource . The cuff on this BP monitor fits smaller arms .
If Cuff Fit Isnt The Issue
If youre experiencing intense arm pain when you take your blood pressure even after youve measured your arm circumference and made sure you have a cuff that fits, double check your cuff placement to be sure the monitor is able to correctly detect your blood pressure. If the device cant get the signals it needs because the cuff is not in the right place, it may end up over-inflating. Similarly, if youre moving during the reading, your monitor may be thrown off and the cuff may remain inflated for a longer period in order to take a measurement.
Keep in mind, too, that your cuff needs to inflate to a higher pressure than your systolic blood pressure in order to take a measurement; so if your blood pressure is especially high, the cuff may inflate to a higher level than usual and cause some pain.
If you find that arm pain frequently occurs at the doctors office with an automatic blood pressure monitor, you can ask your nurse or doctor to measure your blood pressure manually with a pump instead to see if that helps.;
And if you cant seem to find a way to take your blood pressure without experiencing pain, talk to your doctor. You could be dealing with an underlying injury or other condition thats causing your discomfort.;
Also Check: Is Salt Bad For High Blood Pressure
After Your Measurement Wait One Week Before Proceeding
Remember that it is ultimately your decision whether or not to take medication. Unless you have obvious symptoms of high blood pressure , you should let your doctor know that you want to wait a week before deciding. This is so that you can confirm that the reading is representative of your actual blood pressure and not altered due to being nervous or anxious.
If you don’t own the necessary equipment to take your own measurements, you can borrow them from a friend or buy them from a local pharmacy. Some pharmacies also have machines available for public use.
Take your blood pressure at least once a day, at the same time each day, and on the same arm. It may not be practical, but ideally, you would measure twice a dayonce in the morning and once in the afternoon. This will give you a better sense of what your average or typical blood pressure from day to day.
This reading is on the lower end of the normal range and on the verge of hypotension .
How Do I Measure My Blood Pressure
Before you check your blood pressure, you should:
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or using caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Rest for 3 to 5 minutes and do not talk.
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
- Elevate your left arm to the level of your heart. Place it on a table or desk and sit still.
- Wrap the cuff around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should be smooth and snug. There should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
- Check the placement of the cuff. The bottom edge of it should be 1 inch above the crease of your elbow.
Below are the steps to take to use an;aneroid monitor.
Below are the steps to take to use a;digital monitor.
- Turn the power on to start the unit.
- On the automatic models, the cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button. On the manual models, you have to inflate the cuff. You do this by squeezing the rubber bulb at a rapid rate.
- After the cuff inflates, the automatic device will slowly let air out.
- Look at the display screen to get your blood pressure reading. It will show your systolic and diastolic pressures. Write down the measurement in your record. The systolic pressure goes in front of the diastolic pressure. For example, 120/80.
- Press the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
- If you need to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before starting.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Low Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Monitors With Plus
Image description: Part of a fat persons bare arm and torso are shown, forming an abstract shape.
This post may contain affiliate links, which allow us to earn commissions on products we recommend. All opinions are our own.
Health isnt an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control. Peoples health and looks are going to change over time.
The first thing you need to understand about your larger body and blood pressure is that high blood pressure is not your fault, and its not a moral failing. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects many people, many of whom arent fat, and it can be caused by many factors, including genetics, stress, chronic illness, certain other health conditions, food intake and life factors that prevent you from spending much time in movement.
The second thing you need to know about large bodies and blood pressure is that using the proper size cuff really does make a difference in your numbers possibly enough to put you in the high blood pressure category when that might not be accurate. If your doctor tells you you have high blood pressure, you have the right to ask which size cuff theyre using, and to request a larger cuff. Every doctors office should have large cuffs in addition to the medium size thats used by default .
Here are 13 extra-large blood pressure cuffs to try out on your extraordinary, worthy large body.
Selection And Data Extraction
To determine inclusion or exclusion of each potential study, GI and JH independently reviewed the results of the search by title/abstract and when required by the full text of the study. The resulting list of citations was then reviewed for inclusion and a third author arbitrated the final selection decisions.
A standardised data extraction form was used to identify study characteristics and results for each included publication which were independently extracted by GI and JH. Study quality was assessed using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 . Where possible, data were extracted into 2×2 contingency tables. All authors were contacted directly if insufficient data were available in the published report of a given study and to request individual patient data.
You May Like: How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Apps
How Do You Know If Its A Good Reading
First, check the Heart Rate that the machine reports. One of my own cats had dramatically high pressure readings, but the heart rate listed was only around 85 bpm . Thats much too low for a cat. Cats are normally 140-220 bpm. If your cats heart rate is wildly outside that range then the reading is not accurate.
For the problem I had, where I could not get an accurate reading, my vet suggested using an actual veterinary blood pressure cuff. My vet had a size #1 cuff on hand compatible with my machine, so we tried it and were able to get consistent readings compared with their very expensive machine.
Interestingly, the neonatal cuff I was using and the veterinary cuff have the same size for the limb they can be used on but the neonatal cuff has a longer tail than the veterinary one. My vet believes the longer tail is what caused the readings to fail on my underweight cat.
If you find that the neonatal cuff does not get accurate readings for you, then a vet cuff may do a better job. I have only been able to find one good cuff online, the SunTech Veterinary Blood Pressure Cuff, but it only comes in a set.
You may be able to ask your vet to order a single cuff in the appropriate size for you rather than paying for a lot of cuffs in sizes you will not use
Heres a video on how to convert SunTech veterinary cuffs to work with the Contec08A-VET machines:
Omron Platinum: Most Accurate
*Amazon.com list price as of 04/09/2021 at 10:11 a.m. . Read full disclaimer
The Omron Platinum packs accuracy and storage into one powerful device. This blood pressure monitor comes with TruRead technology for precise results, and its mobile app can store unlimited readings from an equally endless number of users..
Even without the mobile app, the monitor tracks readings for two users, so another family member can use it. It has enough storage space for 200 readings . This high memory storage tracks your history longer to help your doctor know if your medication works properly.
The Omron Platinum 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 readings during the same session. Its not as fast as a regular test but helps provide precise results.
There are two downsides to this Omron blood pressure monitor: the cuff and the mobile app. The cuff tends to be larger, so it might not be as accurate if you have small arms. But the mobile app is a bigger problem, with most user reviews citing poor performance and an inability to sync readings on their smartphones properly. Overall, we recommend the Omron Platinum more for its accurate readings than its mobile app.
Read Also: Can Garlic Lower Your Blood Pressure
Make Sure You Purchase And Provide Patients With Devices Best Suited For Them
Devices with an upper arm cuff provide the most accurate blood pressure readings. Wrist cuffs should not be used unless the patient cannot use an upper arm cuff due to arm size being too large to fit a cuff or for medical reasons. Finger devices should never be used. Clinical guidelines do not recommend the use of finger devices because they are less accurate than upper arm devices.
Have A Physician Compare Your Measurements
Whether you have an obese arm or not, you should routinely take your blood pressure monitor to your physician. Typically, once a year is recommended to check it for accuracy. While you have it there, ask your physician to check your cuffs size and fit to your arm. In addition, make sure the physicians cuff is large enough for you. Youd be surprised how many medical facilities cant accommodate a large size arm.
If your arm is too big, it may be unpossible for them to have the correct size cuff. As the fat in the upper arm increases, the length of the arm from the shoulder to elbow remains the same. Blood pressure cuffs must meet the requirements of the 80-40 rule. The length must not be less than 80% of your arm circumference and the width must not be less than 40%.;Because of this, the bladder width cant be manufactured any wider as it would take up too much of your arm length.
Your doctor may determine an accurate measurement is possible at the upper arm after comparing it to the forearm and wrist. In this situation, you can continue measuring your upper arm. If the doctor determines your upper arm is inaccurate, youll have to purchase a home wrist monitor if you want to continue home monitoring.
Also Check: What Can Cause High Blood Pressure Spikes
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:
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 -216-1333, and they can assist you to purchase the right size accessory cuff for your unit.
Not using the cuff correctly
Activities right before taking a measurement
Incorrect body position or moving too much
Timing of taking measurements
Look For Irregular Heartbeat Detection
You may know you have an Irregular Heartbeat , and if so, you should look for a monitor an Irregular Heartbeat Detection.
However, even if you havent been diagnosed with a type of irregular heartbeat, it is still a good feature to look for as it may be a sign of a new or changing condition. ;An irregular heartbeat is defined as a heartbeat that varies by 25% from the average of all heartbeats during the blood pressure measurement.
We recommend contacting your physician if you see this symbol frequently.
Also Check: How Can Control High Blood Pressure
Why Trust Verywell Health
As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world’s top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.
Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
What Can I Do To Help Better Manage My Blood Pressure
Managing your blood pressure doesnt have to take a lot of work. In fact, small improvements to your lifestyle can help.
- Exercise: Just be a little more active. Walk instead of drive; take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
- Eat Smart: Try to find low-fat, low-sodium substituted that also taste great. Potassium found in bananas and carrots is natures best medicine for your heart.
- Kick the Habits: Minimize your alcohol and cigarette intake.
- Stifle Your Stress: Stress is a normal part of life. But too much can increase the risk of heart disease. Relax by doing things you enjoy and your heart can benefit.
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home: Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis provides you and your doctor with the information to best manage your blood pressure.
These are just some examples. Discuss with your doctor on other ways how you can better your heart.
Read Also: What Can You Take For Low Blood Pressure
A&d Blood Pressure Cuff Sizes
A&D offers a fit chart that lists the correct cuff size to use with their products based on your arm size. While many peoples arms will fall into the 8.6- to 16.5-inch circumference range covered by the standard AccuFit Plus Wide Range cuff , which is available with most A&D blood pressure monitors, including the UA-651BLE commonly used by MyNurse members, you may need a larger or smaller cuff.;;
If your arm circumference is larger than 16.5 inches and you want to stick with an A&D monitor, youll need the X-Large cuff , which is only compatible with the UA-789AC blood pressure monitor. If you suspect this is the case or need help with measuring your arm, contact us and well be happy to help you find a cuff or new device that suits your needs.