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To monitor your blood pressure accurately, you will need to make sure you use the right technique – and the right monitor.

What should you consider when choosing a monitor?

Whichever home blood pressure monitor you go for, it’s vital that you ensure it is labelled as being ‘clinically validated’ by the British Hypertension Society. This is a guarantee that the equipment has been thoroughly tested and that you can rely on the accuracy of its readings.

Here are some other pointers:

  • You may find it easier to use a fully automated or digital monitor.
  • For consistently accurate readings, choose a machine that measures blood pressure in the upper arm rather than a finger or your wrist.

Prices vary and you will pay more for equipment with more features – such as a built-in memory. However helpful these additional features may seem, remember they are not absolutely necessary. You just need a good machine that you can afford, and pen and paper to take your readings.

Do you need to maintain the monitor?

As with all equipment, your blood pressure monitor needs maintenance. Send it away to the manufacturer for recalibration every two years to guarantee the continued accuracy of your results.

Does cuff size matter?

Machines measuring blood pressure in the upper arm come with a cuff you wrap around your arm, and the wrong sized cuff will produce an incorrect reading.

Place the cuff half way between your shoulder and elbow.

Before buying, measure your upper arm. If its circumference is 18-22cm, you need a small cuff; for 22-32cm use a medium sized one. Bigger arms require a large cuff.

Bear in mind that most monitors are supplied with a medium cuff, and you may have to buy a different size separately.

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