Blood pressure monitors
Having high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. As many as 5 million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so won't be receiving effective treatment. The only way to know if you have it, is to measure it. Checking your blood pressure at home with your own monitor is quick and easy and saves you having to make an appointment with your GP, as we know that's really difficult at the moment.
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British Heart Foundation blood pressure monitor buying guide
- AFIB Screening: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It causes your heart to beat abnormally, which might feel like your heart is fluttering. The AFIB screening feature can offer an early alert to detect that your heart rhythm is not beating normally. Click for more information on atrial fibrillation.
- Go to doctor/traffic light alerts: Some blood pressure monitors include an automated alert to warn if your blood pressure is abnormal.
- Movement Error Indicator: This feature detects if the results have been compromised due to excessive limb or body movement during the test.
- Extended warranty: A number of blood pressure monitors include an extended warranty, this can be particularly useful with frequent use.
- Detection Modes: Detection modes may offer a 7-day self-measurement program as well as a 'Usual Mode' for 3 consecutive measurements for an average reading.
Blood pressure monitor brands
The BHF only stock blood pressure monitors which have been clinically validated and BHIS approved for home use. This is to ensure that all devices are simple to use and provide accurate readings. Currently the BHF stock devices from 3 leading brands: Omron blood pressure monitors, Microlife blood pressure monitors and A&D blood pressure monitors.
How to measure your blood pressure at home
- In order for it to be an accurate reading it’s important that you’re resting and that you’re not feeling anxious or stressed.
- Sit upright in a chair, your back against the back of the chair, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Rest your arm on a table if you have one and just make sure your hand and arm are relaxed on the table. It’s important that you don’t clench your fist when you’re taking your blood pressure.
- Place the cuff over your upper arm and tighten the cuff over your arm, making sure you can fit two fingers underneath the cuff. You want the cuff to be over the upper part of your arm with the tubing leading down the centre or slightly to the right of your arm.
- When you check your blood pressure, don’t talk and just relax. Press the on button, and then press the start button.
- You’ll feel the cuff inflate quite rapidly. It may temporarily be a bit tender or uncomfortable for, as the cuff inflates and deflates automatically, but this will only be for a short period of time. If it is too tender/uncomfortable you can just press the ‘Stop’ button and the cuff will instantly deflate.
- Once you get your reading, make a note of the reading. Some blood pressure machines now come with a printer. This allows you to stick your print outs in your diary.
- A few minutes after you’ve taken your blood pressure, it’s a good idea to check it again, to make sure the readings are similar and accurate.
- If you’ve been asked by your GP or nurse to check your blood pressure, take it twice a day – morning and evening – and then make an appointment to see him or her to discuss the results.