Medical Q&As

Blood pressure monitor - which one to buy?

I am considering buying a blood pressure monitor. I discovered that there are two types, one for the wrist and one for the arm. Which of the two is the best or is there any difference in their performance or accuracy?

There are several types of blood pressure monitor on the market. Since you intend using the device for monitoring your own blood pressure it is best to purchase a device that is user friendly. Probably the most user-friendly devices of all are digital blood pressure monitors. If you intend to purchase a digital monitor it best to purchase one with “fuzzy logic”, which means that the device is capable of calculating automatically to inflate to a level of pressure some 40 points above the highest measurement of your blood pressure. This feature reduces the possibility of user error. Wrist monitors tend to give more erratic readings in elderly people but excluding that consideration tests have shown that wrist monitors are as accurate as upper arm monitors. A digital wrist monitor would be perfectly acceptable for ongoing monitoring of blood pressure. One other crucial consideration is that you buy a device with an inflatable cuff that is of an appropriate size for your arm. This is particularly important with upper arm monitors. If the wrong cuff size is used you can obtain inaccurate blood pressure measurements. Therefore if your arms are fat you should use a larger cuff.