The ability to quickly and efficiently gauge blood pressure is useful for those with specific ailments like heart conditions or hypertension. Whether your doctor has requested that you take your blood pressure regularly or you’re taking a proactive approach to your own well-being, it’s vital to choose the right unit and use it correctly in order to receive accurate readings. A wrist blood pressure monitor can be a valuable tool for monitoring your health.
While wrist monitors can be less accurate than blood pressure monitors worn around the bicep, they are more accessible and easy to use. These types of blood pressure monitors utilize battery power to take automatic readings and minimize user error.
Our buying guide below covers the pros and cons of using this type of blood pressure monitor, along with information on model pricing and tips for improving accuracy. We’ve included a few of our favorites, too.
What is high blood pressure?
A blood pressure reading, such as 120/80, includes systolic (the first number) and diastolic pressure readings. While a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or lower, a high systolic reading is cause for concern. Prehypertension occurs when the systolic reading is between 130 and 139, and the diastolic reading is between 80 and 89. Numbers higher than these indicate high blood pressure, or hypertension.
- Causes: Hypertension is often a symptom of an underlying condition. Your risk for high blood pressure increases if you are a smoker or heavy drinker, older than 60, overweight, sedentary, or experiencing chronic stress.
High blood pressure may also be the result of a poor diet that includes high amounts of sodium. Certain health conditions also cause high blood pressure (such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems). Some medications may also have an adverse effect on blood pressure. Genetics play a large part in determining your risk factors for high blood pressure, so a family history of the condition increases your risk, too.
Who needs a blood pressure monitor?
Anyone can benefit from tracking and keeping an eye on their blood pressure. Those with high blood pressure should monitor changes in their readings and check whether medication and/or lifestyle changes are helping. Those with prehypertension can use a blood pressure monitor to verify whether the condition is improving or worsening. Since anxiety can have an effect on blood pressure readings taken in a doctor’s office, some people may benefit from taking readings at home for a more accurate picture of their health.
The American Heart Association recommends blood pressure monitors that wrap around the arm over those that wrap around the wrist because they’re more accurate. However, a wrist blood pressure monitor is more portable and easier to travel with than the other units. Many people also find them much more comfortable to wear. The digital interface is also intuitive and easy to use. If used correctly, a wrist monitor provides relatively accurate results, but positioning is crucial to avoid incorrect readings. Wrist monitors also require batteries for power. In some cases, weak batteries may also cause faulty readings.