It’s Likely That Your Home Blood Pressure Monitor Reading Is False
A new study revealed that the majority of home blood pressure monitors dispense inaccurate readings. This is extremely upsetting because high blood pressure is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. And millions of people concerned about blood pressure rely on these home blood pressure machines to determine whether they are at risk for cardiac disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage. With so many people depending on an at-home blood pressure monitor, MD Now wants to alert the community to this widespread medical danger. Here we share the most important details from the study and helpful tips on how to check blood pressure at home. But if you would like the peace of mind of a more accurate blood pressure reading, remember that all MD Now locations welcome you to come in at any time for a free blood pressure check.
Get to the Heart of the Study Results
Dozens of at home blood pressure machines were tested in the study. According to the results, the participants’ home blood pressure monitor readings were off by around 5 mmHg a shocking 70% of the time. And respondents’ readings were off by 10 mmHg one-third of the time. The study also showed that men’s at-home blood pressure monitor readings were less accurate than women’s.
The researchers had difficulty identifying the exact reasons for erroneous readings, but they said that certain factors like blood vessel stiffness, arm size, and arm shape are often overlooked when companies develop a home blood pressure monitor. But luckily, there are many ways to ensure the best readings at home.
Healthy Advice on How to Check Blood Pressure at Home
While these findings are concerning, the American Heart Association (AHA) says you can still get accurate home blood pressure monitor readings by taking a few simple steps.
- Find the best home blood pressure monitor. The AHA suggests choosing an automatic, cuff-style monitor that goes around your upper arm. A proper fit is essential and can greatly affect your readings. That’s why you need to measure your upper arm or ask your doctor to help you determine the right size to get before purchasing. Before you start using your new monitor, take it to your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.
- For at least 30 minutes before using your monitor, stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. All of these can cause your blood pressure to rise, which will skew your reading higher.
- Try not to check your blood pressure when you’re stressed, are running around, or have just completed exercise. Instead, sit down comfortably and remain calm for about 10 minutes before checking your blood pressure. If possible, take readings at the time of day that you’re most relaxed.
- When you’re relaxed and ready to use your blood pressure monitor, sit up straight on a sturdy chair with your back fully supported and both feet flat on the floor. Also, be sure that your arm is level with your heart, which you can do by placing it on a desk or table. Finally, only take a reading on bare skin since clothing can make it difficult to get an accurate result.
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