Do You Really Need a Home Blood Pressure Monitor?

Doctors don’t recommend home blood pressure monitors unless you fall into a certain category

High blood pressure can kill you. One in three adults has it but 21% don’t even know it because there are no symptoms. That’s why it’s called the ‘silent killer’. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is the number one factor in heart disease and the reason many people feel they need to spend money on a home blood pressure monitor.

This seems to be a wise decision. Is it? Or are you wasting money?

Do you need a blood pressure monitor?

Blood pressure monitors cost anywhere between $30 to $130. Do you need one? With the epidemic number of high blood pressure cases, it seems that having one is a smart move.

According to the American Heart Association, there are only certain people who really need a home monitor to check their blood pressure. These people are those:

— diagnosed with high blood pressure

— Seniors with unpredictable blood pressure

— Diabetics

— People who have ‘white-coat’ blood pressure

For these people, having a blood pressure monitor at home is a good idea. Monitors make it easy for these people to take their blood pressure at regular times every day for record keeping. If you don’t fit into one of these categories, it’s probably a waste of money to have a blood pressure monitor. For you, it’s best if you check your blood pressure at your local pharmacy once every month or so. This way you can periodically check your blood pressure without spending the money for a home model.

Choosing a blood pressure monitor

If you fall into the category of needing a home model, first consider cost. Check ratings with websites like Consumer Reports or get a recommendation from your doctor. Second, check with your insurance company. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your insurance company will probably cover part of the costs letting you get a nicer blood pressure monitor than if you have to pay for it yourself.

Be sure when choosing your blood pressure monitor that you check the fit of the blood pressure cuff. Having a cuff on your monitor that doesn’t fit correctly will give you false readings.

When it comes to blood pressure monitors, there are three basic models for home use. The easiest to use is the automatic arm monitor. With these, you put the cuff on your arm and push a button. It takes your blood pressure automatically and even stores your blood pressure in memory so you can compare your blood pressure readings.

Manual arm monitors are the most accurate but only if you use it correctly. This is sometimes difficult and you could possibly get wrong readings if you try to do this yourself.

Wrist monitors fit on your wrist and are very easy to use. However, they are also the least accurate.

The bottom line? Blood pressure monitors are a good use of money if you suffer from a health condition that causes you to need to check your blood pressure every day. If not, a blood pressure monitor is probably unnecessary and a waste of your money.