What are the Different Types of Blood Pressure Equipment?

Alex Tree

There is a limited number of blood pressure medical equipment, most of which is designed to monitor a patient’s blood pressure. Monitors and cuffs make up the vast majority of the equipment, though quality and accuracy vary between brands and models. The more expensive monitors are generally meant for hospital or clinic use. Cheaper monitors are also widely available, but might come with less features. Lastly, many home monitors come with computer software to track and graph the user’s pressure over weeks, months, or years.

A home blood pressure monitor is useful for tracking blood pressure.
A home blood pressure monitor is useful for tracking blood pressure.

A blood pressure cuff is a type of blood pressure equipment that is attached to a blood pressure monitor. It is normally a wide black or blue armband with fabric hook-and-loop fasteners to secure it to the upper arm. In a health clinic or hospital, a health professional fills the cuff with air to determine the patient’s blood pressure on a connecting piece. The cuff can leave the patient’s arm feeling tingly and the skin irritated, especially if it is on too tight

A blood pressure cuff may leave a patient's arm feeling tingly and irritated if it is one too tight.
A blood pressure cuff may leave a patient's arm feeling tingly and irritated if it is one too tight.

Digital blood pressure monitors are a type of blood pressure equipment that is standard in stores and in professional environments. Once the cuff is around the patient’s arm and full, the digital monitor displays his or her blood pressure on the screen. While these monitors can be purchased in medical supplies stores and on the Internet, some are low-quality and might not be as accurate as blood pressure monitors found in a doctor’s office.

Wrist monitors do away with the bulky armband cuff in favor of a wristband, usually directly attached to the cuff so that it sits on the wrist. This type of blood pressure equipment is often smaller and intended for home use. Again, cheap or low-quality wrist monitors might not be entirely accurate, but the accuracy can be checked by bringing it along on a doctor’s appointment to compare the readings to the doctor’s blood pressure monitor.

Sometimes, especially for home blood pressure equipment, the monitors come with computer software to better keep track of a person’s day-to-day blood pressure. In some cases, the monitor can simply be plugged into a computer to upload all readings and display a graph. Another common feature of blood pressure software is a print option, which allows a person to print out all his or her recent readings to show a health professional. Some software can even be synced with a smartphone to enter and view blood pressure rates on the go.

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