Ask your healthcare professional for advice in selecting and using a device to monitor your blood pressure at home. Also have the device checked by your healthcare provider when it's new and once a year to make sure the readings are accurate.
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep (upper-arm) monitor. Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
Here are some other tips to follow when shopping for a blood pressure monitor.
- Choose a validated monitor.
Make sure the monitor has been tested, validated and approved by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the British Hypertension Society and the International Protocol for the Validation of Automated BP Measuring Devices. A list of validated monitors is available on the Dabl Educational Trust website.
- Ensure the monitor is suitable for your special needs.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor for the elderly, pregnant women or children, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits.
Children and adults with smaller or larger than average-sized arms may need special-sized cuffs. They are available in some pharmacies, from medical supply companies and by direct order from companies that sell blood pressure cuffs. Measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
This content was last reviewed on 04/04/2012.