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Home blood pressure monitors are convenient devices that help patients and their healthcare providers keep better track of fluctuations in blood pressure. Accurate records can help a medical professional determine which times of day, which foods, and which activities make a patient most vulnerable to rises in blood pressure, and this in turn can be relevant to what type and how much medicine to prescribe as well as if certain foods or activities should be limited. Either an aneroid or a digital device can be used conveniently at home by most patients. The main difference between the two is their ease of use: digital models usually self-inflate and provide a clear read out, while aneroid models must be operated manually.
Digital blood pressure monitors are perhaps the simplest variety to use. This type is especially convenient for anyone who is not used to testing his or her own blood pressure. Most come with self-inflating cuffs that operate automatically once the cuff has been secured and the device has been powered on. This feature, as well as the digital readout, helps the patient get a more accurate pressure reading. Many digital monitors also include a paper printout to provide a hardcopy record.
Aneroid blood pressure monitors are the "standard" ball and gauge type, much like the one many people see in their doctor's office. Taking the blood pressure with this device requires a stethoscope, and the cuff must be inflated manually. It is best for patients to have a healthcare provider instruct them in how to use this type of monitor to ensure accurate readings.
It is also important for patients to have the monitor tested for accuracy before it is used and at least once each year thereafter. Patients may want to look up different models online and read reviews to find out which ones are the best value, or they can ask a healthcare professional to recommend a reasonably priced, easy to use monitor.