It's morning, and you slip the blood pressure cuff on your arm. Whether the digital display reads low, high or normal (changed from edit: shorter, and a digital display has numbers), you need to know the reading is correct. Then you can confidently call your doctor with an abnormal result, and perhaps save a trip to the doctor. Buying a reliable (I use the word reliable here because the validations from the BHS are based on reliability and accuracy; "high quality" is a very nebulous term. Confidence, a word used below, is also related to reliability.) digital blood pressure monitor provides you an added advantage: According to the Mayo Clinic, (see ref 2) blood pressure temporarily increases with stress, so confidence in your monitor can decrease stress and lower your daily blood pressure readings.
Video of the Day
(see ref 5: note: this is a well-known fact and is not the result of Mayo Clinic research...did you want to know the source or should it be referenced? This is a commonly known fact taught in physiology. Also, I'm an RN, are RNs reliable sources?
****could you answer a question for me? Exactly where is the line for citing references? The LIVESTRONG guidelines state "In text citations are only required whenever the fact does not represent common knowledge." How common is this knowledge...in other words, are we talking 4th grade, high school grad or more? e.g. 2+2=4 needs no reference, right? But what about "The Pythagorean Theorem is 'a squared + b squared = c squared' ." That's common knowledge to anyone who took trig in high school.
The guidelines suggest checking each fact against two sources, am I a source as an RN? Also, are we assuming we are talking to fourth graders, like some internet sites recommend? If so, then I can understand the need to reference almost every fact for the reader. I'd appreciate a little help here--it will help us both avoid future frustration :) )
The Best Types of Digital Blood Pressure Machines
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends choosing a digital blood pressure machine that measures pressure from the upper arm. Wrist and finger blood pressure monitors do not provide results as reliable as machines with upper-arm blood pressure cuffs, according to the AHA. (see reference 2) All of our top digital blood pressure monitors measure from the upper arm.
Our top blood pressure monitors are based on several criteria from the experts. One set of criteria comes from the European Society of Hypertension (EHS) (see reference 3) They recommend monitors with a digital monitor, and memory functions with the ability to average the stored blood pressure readings.
The next criterion is a monitor's accuracy and reliability. Three groups have protocols that measure these. They are: The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), the British Hypertension Society (BHS), and the EHS. The British Hypertension Society gives the highest reliability rating of A/A rating and lower ratings of A/B or B/B. (http://www.dableducational.org/accuracy_criteria.html)
Another criterion is research. One organization compiles and analyzes the research on blood pressure monitors: dable Educational Trust. (see reference 4) Their site makes recommendations based on the blood pressure monitor’s validations and quality of the research.
The Omron HEM-780 Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor is our first pick. There are several reasons. First, this cuff has the first FDA approval for a device that can detect early morning hypertension, which can be a warning for stroke. (http://omronwebstore.com/detail/OMR+HEM-780)
Next, this monitor earned the British Hypertension A/A validation, along with validations from EHS and AAMA. Only eight monitors worldwide have achieved this distinction, according to dabl. (http://www.dableducational.org/sphygmomanometers/devices_2_sbpm.html#ArmTable)
In addition, the monitor also features Intellisense. Omron (http://www.omronhealthcare.com/media/uploads/hem-739__1999_-_im_eng.pdf) explains that Intellisense is fuzzy computer logic that senses the systolic and diastolic blood pressure values, or the top blood pressure number and the low blood pressure number. The result: The cuff does not squeeze the arm too tightly.
Also, the HEM-780 cuff size fits a wide range of arm sizes, including arms with a 9- to 17-inch circumference. The cuff senses irregular heartbeats, and will take three consecutive readings and average them, according the the AHA guidelines. The memory stores data for you and someone else, in case you have a friend or loved one who will want to share your monitor. And it will store 84 sets of measurements for each user, with up to eight weeks of averages. It has a movement indicator, and indicates hypertension and low battery. (see reference 5)
This monitor has a 2010 price of around $63 at Amazon. For an extra $14, you get monitoring software and a connection to your computer with the upgrade model HEM-790-IT.
Lifesource UA-767 Plus
The Lifesource UA-767P earned the British Hypertension rating of A/A. UA-767P saves the last 90 readings for recall that include the time and date of measurement. The monitor will average all of the blood pressures in its memory. Cuffs are latex-free and available in three sizes. The monitor has a pressure rating indicator that helps you understand if your blood pressure is in the normal range. And the UA-767P alerts you if your heartbeat is irregular.
Another plus is that the monitor received a recommendation from the U.K. Buyer’s Guide for blood pressure monitors, an in-depth guide funded by the British government’s National Health Service that considers price, consumer reports and specifications (see reference….NHS: Buyer’s Guide: Low Cost Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Monitors, http://www.pasa.nhs.uk/pasa/Doc.aspx?Path=%5BMN%5D%5BSP%5D/NHSprocurement/CEP/Critical/CEP08018.pdf )
This monitor has a 2010 price of about $54 at Amazon. For around $100, you can get the same unit that will announce your blood pressure readings, model UA-767T.
Microlife BP 3BTO-A
A top blood pressure machine for pregnancy, the Microlife BP 3BTO-AP is recommended by dabl for pre-eclampsia, or hypertension during pregnancy. BP 3BTO-A received a British Hypertension rating of A/B, and passing the AAMI standard. (http://www.dableducational.org/accuracy_criteria.html) The monitor also received a BH rating of A/A for regular monitoring.
The monitor stores the last 99 readings, and comes with a medium-sized cuff. It also has an irregular heart rate indicator and a five-year warranty. (http://www.microlifeusa.com/product_3AT0-AP.asp)
The monitor has a 2010 price of $74.99 at the Microlife website. (http://www.microlifeusa.com/product_3AT0-AP.asp )
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Mayo Clinic: Stress and Hyptertension: What's the Connection?
- American Heart Association: Choosing a Home Blood Pressure Monitor
- dabl Educational Trust: Upper Arm Devices for Self-measurement of Blood Pressure
- European Society of Hypertension: Guidelines for blood pressure monitoring at home:
- LifeSource: LifeSource UA787EJ Automatic Quick Response Blood Pressure Monitor