The Best Blood Pressure Monitors For Home Use For Seniors

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As you get older, it is important to have blood pressure checked on regular basis. Finding the best blood pressure monitors for home use is tough. Follow these home blood pressure monitor buying guide to pick one that suits you


It is important for seniors to monitor their blood pressure regularly to prevent any serious health problems. Finding the best blood pressure monitors for home use can be difficult especially with so many options and types available in the market. In this article, you will learn to pick one that suits your budget and needs.


best blood pressure monitors

Normal Blood Pressure For Seniors

Do you know that blood pressure rises naturally as we get older? So, when you pass the sixty-year barrier, monitoring your blood pressure regularly is important. Blood pressure will rise when you are stressed, hungry, or active. But for most of your waking hours, seniors or people over 60 should aim for blood pressure reading below 150/90 mmHg. (as per the Eighth Joint National Committee Journal (JNC 8) guideline).

blood pressure check

Blood Pressure Check

It is not sufficient to check your blood pressure as and when you visit your doctor. For some seniors, you need to do this more often. So it makes sense to have a blood pressure monitor at home, something that is not expensive and simple to use.

To help you find the right one, understand the types of home monitors available, its features, etc.

Types of Home Blood Pressure Monitors

There are two types of home blood pressure monitors:

  1. Upper Arm-cuff and 
  2. Wrist-cuff model

UPPER ARM-CUFF

Arm cuff blood pressure monitor is the most common monitor and used by doctors and other healthcare professionals to measure blood pressure readings. Because reading is taken at the upper arm which is about the same level as the heart, you will get an accurate reading.

omron upper arm-cuff blood pressure monitor
Example of arm-cuff blood pressure monitor. Photo from Omron website

WRIST-CUFF

Wrist cuff monitor has readings taken at the wrist. But arteries in the wrist are narrower, and not as deep beneath the skin as in the forearm, so the reading is not as accurate as the arm-cuff. Despite this, it is becoming more popular because they are smaller in size and more travel-friendly.

Wrist-cuff Blood Pressure Monitor
Example of wrist-cuff BPM. Photo from Omron's website

Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor vs Arm Cuff    


WRIST-CUFF ARM-CUFF
Compact, lightweight & portable Bulky and not so travel-friendly
Reading not so accurate You get an accurate reading
Easier to put on by yourself Difficult to put on with one hand
Not used by doctors & healthcare professionals  Because it is accurate, used by doctors & healthcare professionals
Not suitable for seniors as wrist blood vessels usually are hardened Highly recommended for seniors/older people and diabetic people
Fit not too critical but for an accurate reading, the cuff must be positioned at heart level It is important to get correct fit - if it is loose or too tight, you get inaccurate readings
Not recommended by the American Heart Association Recommended by the American Heart Association

Most Accurate Blood Pressure Monitor

In addition, there's also the finger monitor, but this is also not recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) due to its inaccuracy.

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    • VERDICT
      • The arm-cuff is the most accurate blood pressure monitor as per AHA's findings and is also recommended for seniors, older people and those with diabetic problems.

The Best Blood Pressure Monitors For Home Use

You should not buy a BPM every year or as and when a new sophisticated model is out on the market. Invest in a good brand that will last you a lifetime. Omron is a reliable brand and our recommendation is based on Omron's product.

Why We Like Omron

  • Omron is one of the top brand recommended by doctors 
  • Has produced high-quality blood pressure monitors for over 40 years
  • Ranked #1 selling manufacturer of BPM for over 40 years
  • The most established brands for home BPM market 
  • Consistently ranked as the most trusted home BPM suppliers
  • Made from state-of-the-art technology and comes with innovative features such as sensing whether the cuff is properly wrapped, error due to body movement, etc. 
  • Easy to use and comes with a large button and LCD display for easy reading - ideal for seniors.
Our recommendations for seniors or diabetic people are the following Omron's arm-cuff models:

1. Omron EVOLVE

This is a one-piece monitor with no tabletop unit, no wire, and no tubes and is easy to operate and highly portable, unlike the traditional design for arm-cuff monitor - but the price is on the high side. On Amazon, it is available at $70, a discount from the retail price of $100 so please check the Amazon site for any updated or other discounted prices.



omron evolve blood pressure monitor
How to Use Omron EVOLVE:

Wrap the entire unit around the upper arm. Press the one button on the unit and blood pressure reading will be displayed in bold numbers on EVOLVE's LED panel. It will display the systolic, diastolic and pulse readings, and detects any irregular heartbeats during measurement and gives warning signals.

You don't need a smartphone as it works independently, unlike some other brands. So this is a plus point esp. for some seniors who find the use of smartphone intimidating. It runs on four AAA alkaline batteries and is not rechargeable so you need to have spare batteries around the house.

The internal memory can store up to 100 blood pressure readings. But if you sync with its app on your smartphone (or get someone to help you), you can save all your historical readings.

2. Omron 10 Series 

Omron 10 is based on the traditional design with tubes and wires without the 'bells and whistle' of smart wearable BPMs; still high priced but lower than Omron EVOLV. On Amazon, the 10 series is available from $60, but check Amazon site for any special buys etc.



How to Use Omron 10:  

Omron 10 Blood Pressure MonitorJust like Omron EVOLVE, wrap the cuff over your entire arm and through the dual sensors it can detect an aberration during the reading. The unit will alert you to this problem via an error code on the display panel. If this happens, you unwrap and do it again.

To start measuring your blood pressure, press the 'START/STOP' button. 

It will display the blood pressure readings and let you know if you have an irregular heartbeat. 

This is not a 'smart device' so you cannot sync any data automatically to your smartphone. You have to manually sync the readings using the free Omron Wellness app.

3. Omron 5 Series 

Omron 5 Series is not a new product from Omron but if you want to monitor only your blood pressure, then this easy-to-use device is value for money. It has only basic functions and not quite as advanced as the newer Omron’s BPMs. One important function that Omron 5 still has is the emergency alert that will warn you if your heartbeat is irregular while taking a reading. The price has also dropped and this affordable arm-cuff monitor is now available at about $40 on Amazon.



Omron 5 Blood Pressure Monitor

How to Use Omron 5 Series:  

Omron 5 Series has a cuff size range that fits both large and standard arms. So it is not an issue for getting the right fit.

It also has a two user mode function and will store up to fifty BP readings for each user. The display is large and easy to read - a plus point for seniors.

It checks your three most recent readings (taken within a 10-minute time frame) and gives the average blood pressure level and compare this result to internationally recognized safe home blood pressure levels.

Despite being on the lower-price range, Omron 5 performs well and at par with the more expensive models. So, if you are on a budget and requires a reliable BPM, Omron 5 is a value for money monitor that works for years to come.

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    • BEST BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR 
      • You may find other cheaper brands but for good investment in blood pressure monitors that are reliable and consistently give accurate readings, Omron is your best bet.

Smart Wearable Health Tech   

Is smart wearable health tech that monitors heart rate and blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep quality and other physical activities suitable for seniors? For a start, these wearable devices give you the convenience and if action is taken when these devices prompted you to do, it helps.

Fitbit Blood Pressure Monitor?  

However, all these wearable health techs are worn over your wrist. As you know, blood pressure taken at the wrist is not accurate. So wearable health device will not give accurate readings. But you can use it IN ADDITION to your arm-cuff BPM for the following reasons:

  • It is like wearing a watch and will constantly show your blood pressure readings.
  • To take action and re-measure your blood pressure with your home arm-cuff BPM when it shows any unusual reading. 
  • Depending on your wearable health device, it will show your blood sugar level, sleep quality and other information that are useful to keep your health in check.
  • This device act as a constant reminder for you to do physical activities (walking etc.) 
So if you intend to have one of this smart wearable health tech, our recommendation is to get Fitbit. Just like Omron, you will be investing in a reliable brand and it is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy.

Our recommendation is on these two models that are suitable for seniors:

1. Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2 for blood pressureThis is one of the best fitness trackers with a heart rate tracker and guided breathing. The screen is larger compared to the original Fitbit Charge and has the multi-sport tracking for outdoor runs, walking, and other exercises.

Although as a senior you may not use all these functions, it can be handy if you are still physically active.

It is not waterproof so you cannot use it during shower or swimming but it is water resistant so can handle a few splashes while doing washing up etc.

2. Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa for blood pressureFitbit Versa has a brighter and clearer screen display and is easily visible in direct sunlight. 

It is waterproof so it is OK for swimming. It is also lightweight in design and comfortable to wear. 

It has the traditional watch-style clasp so for seniors, it is easy to fasten and release. Just like Fitbit Charge 2, the strap is interchangeable and you have several colored fabrics, metal, or silicon versions to choose from.

It has some of the important physical activities tracking but what is of immediate use to you is its heart rate tracking and sleep pattern monitoring.

It will recognize your inactivity, stillness and decreased heart rate. It summarizes for you how long you slept both in light and deep sleep mode.



How to Take Blood Pressure for Accurate Reading

Taking blood pressure wrongly and not follow the correct technique will give either a low or high readings. Ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse to teach you how to use your BPM correctly or follow the below tips to ensure accurate readings:

Before taking your first reading, have your home blood pressure monitor clinically validated i.e. the readings are accurate and repeatable. Read this article by the American Medical Association on how to do this or ask your doctor or pharmacist for assistance.

Tips For Accurate BP Reading

  • Best time to take blood pressure is in the morning before medication, as it is the lowest. Wait for about two minutes and repeat for two or three more readings to make sure it is accurate. 
  • Then check again in the evening since your blood pressure will rise as the day progresses. Likewise, take at least two or three readings and compare.
  • Take your reading at this same time every day
  • Don't eat, drink (including alcoholic and caffeine drinks), smoke tobacco and exercise for at least 1 hour before taking your blood pressure reading.  These can cause a temporary spike in the pressure.
  • Empty your bladder before taking the reading as a full bladder can cause an increase in the systolic pressure by about 10-15 mmHg.
  • Then rest for about 5 minutes before taking the reading.
  • When you take blood pressure, sit with your back against a chair, with both feet on the floor and don't cross your legs and ankles.
  • Use the arm-cuff BPM and not the wrist-cuff.
  • Is the size of the cuff for your BPM correct? To know if it is the right size, the inflatable portion must cover at least 80 percent of your upper arm. 
  • Make sure the cuff is wrapped around the arm that is at the level of the heart.
  • Place your arm either on a table or chair arm.
  • If necessary, put a cushion under your arm to raise it high enough. 
  • The cuff must be on the bare skin and not over your clothes as it can raise the systolic pressure by up to 40 mmHg.
  • Remain quiet and don't talk while taking the blood pressure.
  • Use the same arm for every blood pressure measurements 
  • Record the readings and keep a blood pressure journal for future reference 

Right Arm vs Left Arm Blood Pressure

There is no specific requirement for either the right or left arm to measure your blood pressure. There should not be any different in the readings. If there is, it must not be more than 10 mm Hg for either the systolic or diastolic pressure (bottom number).

If there is a big difference, it could be problems related to:
  • The narrowing or blocked arteries of that arm. 
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart defects
So see your doctor for further examination.

Conclusion

It is important to remember that visits to your doctor are still required despite your home blood pressure monitoring. Some home BPMs may have limitations but in your case, you now know how to choose the best blood pressure monitors for home use, so you are better off than others :-)

It is not complicated and is easy to use. Proper care is also important to ensure a lasting usage. Before storing, check that the tubing (if your model has it) is not twisted and keep it away from heat.

References

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SIXTY PLUS: The Best Blood Pressure Monitors For Home Use For Seniors
The Best Blood Pressure Monitors For Home Use For Seniors
As you get older, it is important to have blood pressure checked on regular basis. Finding the best blood pressure monitors for home use is tough. Follow these home blood pressure monitor buying guide to pick one that suits you
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