How to choose the right automatic blood pressure monitor
Most older people suffer from arrhythmia, hypertension and heart disease, which requires constant monitoring of blood pressure. It is easiest to measure it with an automatic tonometer. We will tell you why these devices are better than mechanical ones, show you how to choose the right model, and present the rating of automatic blood pressure monitors in terms of accuracy in 2019.
Types of tonometers
There are mechanical, semi-automatic and automatic pressure meters. At mechanical method the cuff is inflated with air using a rubber bulb, after which the air is slowly bled off, while listening to the heart rhythm with a stethoscope. This method is considered the most accurate and, as a rule, doctors use it. Unlike most people without medical education, they understand how to correctly determine the pressure of the heartbeat.
It is quite difficult to carry out such a procedure alone. Even if you manage to pump out air with one hand and hold a stethoscope with the other, the results are unlikely to be correct. Therefore, we do not recommend purchasing a mechanical tonometer for the elderly or self-measurement.
AT semi-automatic tonometer there is also a pear for supplying air to the cuff, but the pressure is no longer measured manually, but with the help of an electronic device that listens to the heartbeat. This method does not require a stethoscope, and a semi-automatic device is cheaper than an automatic one. However, in the operation of a semi-automatic device, an error is possible, which directly depends on the person: with self-measurement, there is a high risk of uneven pumping or bleeding of air at the wrong time.
Therefore, it is best suited for the elderly automatic blood pressure monitor. For its work, you do not need a pear or a stethoscope. The device works literally at the touch of a button: you put on the cuff and press a key on the device, after which it itself supplies the required amount of air and bleeds it by itself, measuring pressure and pulse. There are no drawbacks to automatic blood pressure monitors – except that they are more expensive than similar models with mechanical components. However, the device will quickly pay for itself due to the ease of use and the mass of additional functions, which we will discuss below.
To choose the right cuff for the upper arm, you need to measure the circumference of the forearm of the person who will use the blood pressure monitor. On sale you can find small models for children (18-22 cm), standard (22-32 cm), large (32-45 cm) and extra large (45-52 cm). We advise you to take a universal cuff with a size of 22-45 cm, which is suitable for any arm – then all family members can use the tonometer. There are also models for the wrist – they have a standard cuff size of 13-22 cm.
Additional functions of the automatic blood pressure monitor
Definition of arrhythmia. Many people over the age of 50 suffer from arrhythmia – a heart rhythm disorder in which a skip or extraordinary contraction of the heart muscle occurs. The presence of arrhythmias can confuse even high-precision instruments, so it is important that the tonometer can detect this ailment and measure pressure correctly. An automatic device with an arrhythmia sensor monitors a person’s pulse and reads it again if it notices instability in the readings.
Measurement log. If the tonometer has a built-in memory, it can store the results of previous measurements. This will be especially useful for the elderly and those who monitor their health: it is convenient to keep statistics and draw conclusions when pressure changes. If several people will use the tonometer, choose a model that supports several profiles so as not to get confused among the saved results.
Display. On the screen of the tonometer, the value of the upper and lower blood pressure is necessarily displayed, optionally the pulse. There may also be indicators on the display that indicate the current user profile, a measurement log, or a detected arrhythmia. If you are thinking about how to choose an automatic blood pressure monitor for the elderly, take a model with a large screen on which all the symbols are clearly visible.
Tonometers for home use are produced by the same companies that make professional medical equipment. The most popular of them is the Japanese company OMRON. Devices from Japan are more expensive than many competitors, but they are accurate and reliable – you can buy one once and use it for many years.
Also on the Russian market there are many tonometers of the English company B.Well, which uses the advanced developments of Swiss physicians in its devices. These are affordable and multifunctional devices for the home and the whole family.
Less popular are Swiss company Microlife, German Beurer, Japanese Nissei and AND. In principle, all of the listed manufacturers produce worthy devices, and it is very difficult to buy a low-quality tonometer: these devices go through a long path of certification and control by specialists, and only proven models go on sale. Therefore, it would be wrong to advise you, for example, specifically omron or bivel. Choose a blood pressure monitor, taking into account your budget and the additional features you need, and only then look at the brand.
The best automatic blood pressure monitors: top 5 models
Omron M3 Expert
Automatic upper arm blood pressure monitor with a large LCD screen and a universal cuff that will suit all family members. The pressure measurement error here is minimal – 3 mm Hg. Art., and the accuracy of the pulse value is 5%. The device can be powered by four AAA batteries or from the mains, the kit comes with an appropriate adapter. The tonometer is able to determine arrhythmia and has a memory for 60 measurements.
Omron M3 Expert uses the patented Intellisense system, which takes into account the state of the patient’s vessels and calculates pressure based on heart rate, time and oscillation. It selects the right combination from a variety of blood pressure options, which allows you to achieve high measurement accuracy.
Omron M2 Basic
The blood pressure monitor comes with an average cuff 22-32 cm, an adapter for connecting to the mains, a case and a set of four AAA batteries. The error here is the same as that of the Omron M3 Expert model – 3 mm Hg. for pressure and 5% for pulse. The instrument’s memory can store the last 30 results. The measurement also uses proprietary Intellisense technology.
B.Well PRO-35 (M-L)
An inexpensive but good tonometer from B.Well can be bought for 1690 rubles – this is a small price for a device with high accuracy (3 mmHg and 5%). When measuring pressure, the device uses the classic algorithm for releasing air from the cuff Intellect Classic. The kit includes an adapter for connecting to the network and a universal cuff (22-42 cm) of a cone shape.
Microlife BP A6 PC
This is an expensive, but very functional blood pressure monitor for the elderly. Microlife memory can store up to 99 results divided into two profiles: for evening and morning measurements or for two different users. Thanks to AFIB technology, the tonometer can detect the risk of stroke – atrial fibrillation. And MAM technology allows you to achieve maximum measurement accuracy: the device analyzes three consecutive results and reports the correct pressure value.
The model can run on batteries or mains. The set includes a classic cuff 22-42 cm and an adapter for an outlet. Standard error: 3 mm Hg. and 5% for pressure and pulse, respectively.
Tonometer AND UB-202
Judging by the reviews, this is a convenient and compact device for measuring pressure on the wrist. The model of the Russian company AND is suitable for older people who monitor their pressure and measure it on their own: the tonometer is easy to fix on the arm without outside help.
Its accuracy is the same as that of other models from our rating. The memory capacity is for 90 measurements. There is a “guest” mode, which will allow you not to save unscheduled measurements, and an arrhythmia sensor. The device operates on two AAA batteries.
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