Blood pressure can be tracked at home quickly and easily using an automatic blood pressure monitor, which takes a reading automatically and displays the result in a digital format. This is useful for people with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, who need to report daily changes in blood pressure to their doctors. It also is beneficial for people who just want to take a more proactive role in managing their health.
There are two main types of blood pressure monitor: digital, or automatic, and aneroid, or manual. Automatic monitors have become the most popular type of machine for tracking blood pressure at home. They tend to be easier to use and to read than manual blood pressure machines.
An aneroid blood pressure monitor can be more portable and cheaper than an automatic blood pressure monitor, but they need to be manually inflated using a hand pump. This can be difficult for users with mobility challenges or those trying to monitor themselves without assistance. The user also needs to learn how to read the dial format display and record his or her results accurately, and must take care not to damage the delicate machine. Misreading the display, inaccurately recording the results, or damaging the machine can make blood pressure tracking less accurate.
A digital automatic blood pressure monitor usually inflates and deflates automatically and displays results in a digital format on a screen, which makes it simple for the user to take a reading. The user often will be able to save his or her results on the machine or print them out, which makes keeping a record of blood pressure changes even easier. These machines are also harder to damage than aneroid monitors. Effective use of an automatic blood pressure monitor still requires the user to be able to read it accurately and interpret his or her results, but this is a simpler task with digital machines.
When choosing a blood pressure monitor, it is important to purchase one that is clinically validated, meaning that it consistently gives results that patients and doctors can trust. The monitor also needs to be the right size for the user's arm and have the right features for the particular user, such as the ability to be used on either the right or the left arm. A doctor should be consulted before making a purchase and while the user is learning how to use the machine to ensure accurate results.