The wearables market is booming. In 2018 the global value was about $6 billion and the market continues to increase. This includes items like health and fitness trackers. One of the most important factors when picking a unit from Fitbit or Garmin is the most accurate blood pressure monitor. If you suffer from health conditions like high blood pressure then it’s important to have 24/7 data about how well your heart is functioning. This helps to track high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. You can find many portable BP monitors for arm, wrist, and finger.
When picking a BP monitor it’s also important to consider how accurate the unit is. Yes, it’s important to know whether your ticker is pumping blood to your body parts at a good rate. However, it’s also critical to get accurate data. That’s the case whether you’re tracking blood pressure for health conditions or gym workouts. Getting correct data makes it easier to prevent serious heart problems and improve your exercise sessions whether you do walking, biking, or weightlifting. The good news is portable blood pressure monitors keep getting more accurate due to game-changing tech innovations developed by the makers.
Importance of Tracking Blood Pressure
When you have high blood pressure, you’re putting a strain on your arteries and the heart itself. That causes issues like weaker arteries and lower heart health. Over time it could cause various conditions that can lead to high medical costs.
If you have ultra-high blood pressure this can cause lots of trouble. It includes risks of events like heart attacks and strokes. These are very serious situations you’ll want to avoid.
However, we also can’t forget the effects of high BP on the arteries. If you put a strain on them this can cause them to become thicker and less bendable. That, in turn, makes them thinner. Over time this can lead to a “clot,” which is a fancy term for a clogged artery.
If the artery gets totally clogged up it can result in very serious conditions. These include stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. People at high risk for such events need to monitor their blood pressure and heart rates continuously. In these cases a blood pressure monitor can be very valuable.
It’s not really enough just to monitor your blood pressure. It’s also important to make lifestyle changes to help reduce your blood pressure. These include eating healthy, exercising regularly, and reducing stress. It also helps to quit smoking or drink less alcohol.
It’s natural for the heart to pump slower or faster during the day. For example, if your heart isn’t working harder when exercising then you’re not doing it right. Even in this situation, it’s good to monitor your blood pressure and especially if you have a history of high BP.
Are Portable Blood Pressure Monitors Accurate?
They can be but it really depends on different factors. One of the trends today is BP monitors continue to become smaller and more compact. In the past, you had to carry around a bulky case with you whenever you wanted to check your blood pressure.
Today many types of blood pressure monitors are available. This includes units that check the BP of the upper arm, wrist, or finger. One of the most important issues in terms of accuracy isn’t the unit itself but instead your body position.
Another issue is where the monitor checks your BP. For example, readings taken from the wrist are usually less accurate than ones taken from the upper arm. This is due to the wrist’s arteries being narrow and less deep than those on the upper arm.
There are some X-factors too. For example, if someone has a very big arm then it might be more practical to get BP readings from the wrist or finger instead of the arm.
Another issue is portable vs. professional monitors. A portable blood pressure monitor can certainly be convenient since you can check your BP wherever you are during the day. There’s an app for that! However, these devices are definitely less accurate than the monitors found in hospitals and health clinics.
That said, wearable tech is always improving. The main benefit of portable BP monitors is they give you a snapshot of your blood pressure throughout the day. You can then detect at a glance if your BP is within a healthy range.
This is absolutely, positively important if you have conditions like high blood pressure and are high-risk for a heart attack or stroke. You’ll want to monitor your BP throughout the day. For example, when you’re at work or exercising it’s important to prevent higher-than-normal blood pressure rates.
Finding the Most Accurate Blood Pressure Monitor
When picking a BP monitor you have many options. The unit’s accuracy is definitely important to make sure you’re getting reliable data. However, you should also consider the different types of monitors on the market. Here are some of the main ones:
1. Arm Monitors
The old-school type is known as an “Aneroid” monitor. You put the cuff around the upper arm then squeeze a bulb in order to inflate it. There’s a gauge that shows your blood pressure. These are cheap monitors but one of the main drawbacks is they break easily.
Then there are also digital arm monitors. You get the BP reading on a small screen. These units are easier to use/read. Sometimes you even get a printout of the results!
2. Wrist Monitor
One of the main drawbacks of these BP units vs. arm monitors is they’re often less accurate. One reason is the arm is at heart level when you take the reading. However, if you have a big upper arm or the cuff hurts your arm this is a good option.
3. Finger Monitor
In terms of convenience, these BP monitors are better than arm units. However, like wrist monitors they’re also less accurate. So, it’s again important to consider why you’re collecting blood pressure readings.
4. Mobile App
Today you can find smartphone apps that claim they’re able to take blood pressure readings. Various reviews have shown that many of these units don’t provide accurate readings. One small study recommended that these units shouldn’t be used for medical purposes until more studies are done.
When picking a portable BP monitor here are some key features to consider:
- Ease of Use
These are all important issues to think about. The biggest one is picking a device that’s the best option for your particular wants and needs including the most accurate blood pressure monitor.