If you suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure, having the ability to monitor yourself at home between doctor’s visits is an important step in ensuring you’re taking the right steps to improving your health and lowering your blood pressure. According to the Texas Heart Institute, more than 80 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, with over half of them not even realizing they have a condition. Leaving your high blood pressure unchecked and untreated could lead to serious and even fatal effects, including a heart attack or stroke.
Hypertension is on the rise, with projections showing an 8 percent growth in the number of Americans suffering from high blood pressure by 2030. High blood pressure can be caused by genetics, diet, stress, and a lack of exercise, and can result in a hardening of the arteries, an enlarged heart, kidney damage, and even eye damage. For those who suffer from high blood pressure, having an at-home blood pressure monitor is one of the first steps in getting their health back on track.
When taking a reading of your blood pressure, it’s important to do so at the same time every day. Users should avoid certain activities before taking their reading which could increase their blood pressure, including smoking, drinking caffeine or alcohol, working out, eating, or bathing. It’s always a good idea to rest for 15 minutes before taking a reading so that your monitor isn’t pulling in outlier data from, for example, a quick run around the block.
Though not a substitute for regular doctor visits, the American Heart Association recommends that anyone with high blood pressure use a monitor at home, giving them the ability to track their readings and seek medical help if their pressure continually rises. We’ve chosen three great blood pressure monitors that will help anyone looking to take an active role in their health.
1. Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
The number one recommended blood pressure monitor by doctors and pharmacists is the Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor, which stores up to 100 readings and includes an irregular heartbeat monitor.
Pros: The Omron has a memory of the last 100 readings, including date and time, making it easy to track your average blood pressure reading and share it with your health care provider. The large digital screen displays the average of the last three readings in a 10-minute period to get an accurate number and features an irregular heartbeat monitor. It also compares your reading to the global average. We like that the Omron includes a Heart Zone Guidance feature that lights up when your wrist is at heart level, delivering an accurate reading. The wrist style is discreet and ideal for use in public. The Omron requires 2 AAA batteries, which are included.
Cons: The Omron 7 doesn’t include wireless or Bluetooth connectivity like the Omron 7 Wireless edition. The Omron is highly sensitive to movement, so it’s not a good option for people who suffer from shakes or trembles. It also has the lowest memory storage of all three monitors and is only designed for use by one person.
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2. Easy@Home Digital Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
The FDA-approved Easy@Home Digital Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor monitors blood pressure and pulse rates with an easy one-button measuring technique.
Pros: The Easy@Home is one of the most straightforward blood pressure monitors to read, with an oversized digital display and color-coded results for the Systolic and Diastolic readings, including green for normal, orange for prehypertension and red for hypertension. Like the Omron, the Easy@Home also features an irregular heartbeat alert. The Easy@Home is designed for use by two people with the ability to recall the last 60 measurements or 120 measurements for one person. Like the Omron, the Easy@Home takes an average of the past three readings. The Easy@Home comes with a carrying case for ease of portability.
Cons: The Easy@Home is an upper arm cuff, which can make it a bit more challenging to put on than the Omron’s wrist design. The Easy@Home takes 4 AA batteries to run, but some customers noted the included batteries could last up to two years.
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3. Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff Kit by Balance
The Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff Kit by Balance features dual memory storage of 60 readings each, perfect for use by two people.
Pros: The Greater Goods is the only blood pressure monitor on our list that uses a power cord, with the monitor also able to run on 4 AAA batteries, making it ideal for travel. The FDA-approved monitor has a hypertension indicator bar and irregular heartbeat alert. Designed for two users, each person can store up to 60 readings, which are easy to see on the oversized backlit LCD screen. The monitor comes with two cuff sizes and a carrying case. Customers rave about Greater Goods customer service.
Cons: Customers agree that the biggest drawback with Greater Good is with the battery and charging. Customers noted that when replacing batteries, which run out quickly, the monitor’s memory is wiped. If using the wall adapter, it’s essential to keep the monitor plugged in at all times or else the date and time will have to be reset.
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