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Maintaining normal blood pressure is the key to health. Therefore, regular monitoring of your condition can save lives, says Joyce M. Oen-Xiao, MD , director of the cardiac rehabilitation program and medical director of the department of cardiac telemetry at the Heart and Vascular Center at Yale Hospital New Haven. "Prolonged high blood pressure can damage the body's small vessels and make the heart thicker and stiffer," he explains. "A blood pressure check can help you and your doctor determine if you need medicine or if it works."
After purchasing a monitor, you want to make sure that your monitor is accurate . Dr. Oen-Xiao recommends bringing your blood pressure monitor to your doctor's office so that you can manually check your blood pressure in the office and compare it to your monitor. If the numbers match, your doctor will know that the blood pressure readings you take at home are correct. Some patients experience " white coat hypertension " when their blood pressure rises while they are in the doctor's office. "By comparing a blood pressure monitor to your office blood pressure reading, your doctor may not have to adjust your medication," he adds.
When taking blood pressure measurements at home, Dr. Oen-Xiao also recommends making sure the monitor fits your arm correctly. 'If the cuff is too big or too small, it will change your blood pressure reading. If you have a disability or your arm is too large to fit in a wrist strap, the best option is a wrist blood pressure monitor. "
To determine the correct cuff size, start by measuring the upper arm midway between the elbow and the upper arm. This will give you the circumference of your arm in centimeters. Multiply this number by 80% to determine the length of the bracelet. Finally, multiply the circumference by 40% to get the correct cuff width.
Here are the best blood pressure monitors on the market today.