Are Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors Accurate
Odds are, when you think of blood pressure readings your mind goes to the bulky upper arm cuffs and your doctors office. That sort of equipment can be intimidating, especially if your doctor recommends tracking your blood pressure at home.
But whatever your reason, tracking your blood pressure at home is easier and more convenient than ever thanks to the convenience of the wrist blood pressure monitor.
What Is The Most Common Way To Measure Blood Pressure
There are three commonly used methods for measuring blood pressure for clinical purposes: clinic readings, self-monitoring by the patient at home, and 24-hour ambulatory readings.
How do you check your blood pressure by hand?
Place your index and middle finger of your hand on the inner wrist of the other arm, just below the base of the thumb. You should feel a tapping or pulsing against your fingers. Count the number of taps you feel in 10 seconds.
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.
Also Check: Diarrhea And High Blood Pressure
Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Pros And Cons
As is the case with most things in life, wrist blood pressure cuffs have their pros and cons.
Cons:While they are capable of being just as accurate, because of the need for proper technique, the margin of error for wrist cuffs is greater than their upper arm counterparts.
Pros:Now, for the good news. Wrist cuffs, which you may be attracted to for their great portability, are also getting smarter and easier to use all the time. Some even come with technology and apps to make sure youre using proper technique to get the best reading.
As with any medical decisions, you should discuss with your doctor. They can help make sure that your at-home readings are as accurate as possible. A direct comparison between your wrist monitor and the in-office equipment can help identify any margins of error and improve your at-home blood pressure readings. Which in turn can ensure the healthiest you!
Heres a quick video that will walk you through how to take your blood pressure at home with a wrist monitor:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
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: $80
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
Recommended Reading: Smartwatch That Measures Blood Pressure
Youre Using The Wrong
The most common error when using indirect blood pressure measuring equipment is using an incorrectly sized cuff. A BP cuff that is too large will give falsely low readings, while an overly small cuff will provide readings that are falsely high.
The American Heart Association publishes guidelines for blood pressure measurement . recommending that the bladder length and width should be 80 percent and 40 percent respectively, of arm circumference. Most practitioners find measuring bladder and arm circumference to be overly time consuming, so they dont do it.
The most practical way to quickly and properly size a BP cuff is to pick a cuff that covers two-thirds of the distance between your patients elbow and shoulder. Carrying at least three cuff sizes will fit the majority of the adult population. Multiple smaller sizes are needed if you frequently treat pediatric patients.
Korotkoff sounds are the noises heard through a stethoscope during cuff deflation. They occur in 5 phases:
- I first detectable sounds, corresponding to appearance of a palpable pulse
- II sounds become softer, longer and may occasionally transiently disappear
- III change in sounds to a thumping quality
- IV pitch intensity changes and sounds become muffled
- V sounds disappear
What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.
Omron Platinum: Most Accurate Blood Pressure Monitor
*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
The Omron Platinum packs accuracy and storage into one powerful device. This blood pressure monitor comes with TruRead technology for clinically accurate results, and its mobile app can store unlimited pressure readings from an equally endless number of users.
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.
Mobile app has issues
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.
Stores 100 readings per user
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.
What Types Of Blood Pressure Monitors Are There
According to Ghazi, the most commonly used is a digital blood pressure monitor in which the process is automatic, aside from placing the cuff on your arm. Both Agarwal and Ghazi dont recommend wrist or finger blood pressure monitors as these arent recommended by the American Heart Association.
For individuals with upper extremity disabilities, Ghazi explains how to monitor your blood pressure safely and effectively. Unfortunately, there have been no validated devices for lower extremity blood pressure measurements, she said. Ankle blood pressure measurement is taken when you are supine has been found to be a viable alternative by the British and Irish Hypertension Society, which recommendsmonitoring blood pressure through the ankles for more comfortability with the cuff.
You May Like: Can Stress Increase Blood Pressure
Most Accurate Blood Pressure Monitor
There are a few different types of blood pressure monitors available on the market, but the most accurate one to use is the mercury sphygmomanometer. This device is the most commonly used in hospitals and clinics because it is the most accurate method of measuring blood pressure.
Greater GoodsSmart Blood Pressure Monitor 0604 is the best blood pressure monitor on the market for home use. Each user of the device can take up to 60 readings, and its companion app can generate unlimited results. If you prefer a non-smart machine, we recommend using our runner-up pick with a similar monitor and without Bluetooth. Bluetooth is used to connect the Omron Evolv to a cuff and monitor-in-one device. Despite the fact that the on-cuff display is backlit, it is small and difficult to read. A home blood pressure monitor is not a diagnostic device, but it can be used to keep track of your blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half of Americans have hypertension.
Can A Tight Blood Pressure Cuff Cause A High Reading
Most blood pressure reading errors are the result of improper sizing of the blood pressure cuff or placing the cuff over clothing. Improper placement of the cuff over clothing can cause your blood pressure measurement to increase 10 to 50 points. If the cuff is too small, it can add 2 to 10 points your reading.
Don’t Miss: Blood Sugar 101 In The Morning
More Blood Pressure Monitors To Consider
We tested the following blood pressure monitors in addition to those in our top choices, but they ultimately fell short when it came to features like ease of use, data display, and set up.
- A& D Medical Advanced Manual Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor: While the monitor is easy to read and displays data clearly, the system is difficult to use for new users.
- Omron Evolv Upper Arm: It scored a 5 in data display and portability, but our tester found the cuff difficult to put on without help.
- Withings BPM Connect: The associated app is easy to use, but information is displayed on the cuff and readings take a while to process.
Who This Is For
Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, putting a burden on the rest of your body. A home blood pressure monitor is not a diagnostic device, but a tool to help you keep track of your blood pressure between checkups.
The American Heart Association defines hypertension as having either a systolic reading over 130, or a diastolic reading over 80 mm Hg for adults over the age of 20, and prehypertension as 120/80 mm Hg or above. These numbers refer to the pressure of blood against your blood-vessel walls. The first number is the systolic pressure, measured when the heart beats the second number is the diastolic pressure, measured when the heart rests between beats.
The American Heart Association and many doctors recommend a blood pressure monitor for home use to help people with high blood pressure manage the condition. The daily use of a monitor can help a person track their blood pressure and prompt them to seek emergency care. At-home monitoring is also useful for patients who experience white coat syndrome, where the stress of visiting the doctors office causes blood pressure to spike. Still, keep in mind that home monitoring is meant to accompanynot replaceregular monitoring by a physician.
Also Check: Normal Red Blood Cell Count Range
Our Pick: Greater Goods Smart Blood Pressure Monitor 0604
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
Of all the blood pressure monitors we tested, the Greater Goods Smart Blood Pressure Monitor 0604 was the best in terms of features and ease of use. We liked its large, backlit display, as well as its capacity to store up to 60 measurements per each of two users on the device itselfand unlimited readings in the companion app, Balance Health . In our testing, the monitor gave reliably consistent readings. The cuff is comfortable and fits most arms, and the machine can both run on batteries and be plugged into the wall. It also offers the option to send data wirelessly from the monitor to an app via Bluetooth.
Like most of the monitors we considered, the 0604 offers irregular pulse detection and the ability to average pressure readings in the Balance Health app accessing these functions is simple and intuitive. You can toggle between users with an easy slide of a switch , and the monitor is usable straight out of the box, even beforeor without everconnecting to the app.
The 0604 is extremely quietit sounds like a refrigerator hum if youre within a couple inches of it, and it shouldnt disturb someone across the room. Its large, backlit display is easy to read, but readings stay on the screen for only a minute or so after delivery. The machine does, however, instantly send your results to the app, making daily, weekly, monthly, or annual averaging a simple task.
Want To Keep An Eye On Your Blood Pressure Our Helpful Guide And Bite
Do you get the heebie-jeebies whenever the doctor goes to test your blood pressure? If so, that anxiety could be affecting the result. A study by the University of Oxford found that patients who took their own blood pressure before getting checked by their GP almost always have a more accurate reading.
Whats more, measuring your own blood pressure can help you track changes over time. It could even save your life: high blood pressure is by far the biggest cause of cardiovascular disease, but it doesnt always have obvious symptoms.
But with so many different types of home blood pressure monitors available, how do you know which one to buy? Read on for our top recommendations, as well as what to look out for when buying one.
Also Check: Colon Cancer Blood Test Levels
Different Kinds Of Blood Pressure Monitors
There are different types of blood pressure monitors available for purchase. They all have different variables to consider when choosing the right blood pressure monitor. The main types of blood pressure monitors include digital, automatic, manual, and ambulatory monitors. Not all available monitors are suitable for at-home use if you have never used them before. Investing in a monitor that you have ease using is extremely important in ensuring you get accurate results each time you test.
Please note that according to a recent study conducted by Shahbabu et al, it was determined that the analog device had better accuracy than the digital device as compared to mercury monitor and is recommend for use to have a proper and better management.
Digital monitors provide a display of the blood pressure reading once it is complete. This prevents the need for someone to take and measure the blood pressure manually.
Automatic monitors initiate a blood pressure reading with the press of a button. The automatic blood pressure monitor fits around the arm or other recommended location and measures blood pressure on its own.
Manual Blood Pressure
A blood pressure cuff and stethoscope has been the most trusted way of measuring a blood pressure for a long time. Training and knowledge of how to operate and measure blood pressure will be needed to ensure an accurate reading.
Recommended Reading: Cleveland Clinic Blood Pressure
Best Budget: Omron 3 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
Cuff fits easily and comfortably onto arm
No carrying case included
Only stores 14 readings at a time
For users who want to regularly check their blood pressure without additional bells and whistles, this blood pressure monitor checked all of the necessary boxes while staying in an affordable price range. Its one-step setup allows users to quickly assemble and test the device right out of the box, and shares results with large, easy-to-read letters. The cuff is comfortable and easy to put on, and the box provides illustrated instructions on how to properly fit the cuff around your arm.
Because it isnt a very elaborate device, you dont get a lot of data storage the machine only holds 14 readings, so if you need to regularly monitor your blood pressure, this probably isnt the device for you. Because of this shortcoming, we gave this device a 3.5 out of five in terms of data display.
If youre just looking to check your blood pressure at home from time to time and still want a quality device without a high price tag, the Omron 3 Series is a great budget-friendly pick. While it received a perfect score in setup, fit, and ease of use, its 3.5 scores for data display and portability ultimately brought down its overall score to a four out of five.
Average Standard Deviations
Price at time of publish: $52
Verywell Health / Nick Kova
Power Source: Batteries | Number of Readings Stored: 14 | Number of Users It Can Store Data For: 1 | Weight: 1.2 lbs
Recommended Reading: How To Get More White Blood Cells