Did you know that 30% of American adults suffer from high blood pressure? Of those, only 81.5% are aware of it, and only 74.9% are under current treatment. This means that around 10% of Americans over 20 have high blood pressure and aren’t doing anything to get it under control. Considering that high blood pressure is known for increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, this is alarming news. Things are even more concerning for seniors, as they are more prone to having high blood pressure and the complications associated with it. Of course, you should contact your doctor to check your blood pressure and whether or not you need any treatment. But it’s also recommended that you get a blood pressure monitor to check your levels on a regular basis, as it gives your doctor a better idea of your health status.
Choosing the Right Blood Pressure Monitor
There are several types of blood pressure monitors available. Depending on what you need and how tech-savvy you are, different devices will work better for you. One of the most critical trade-offs you need to bear in mind is comfort vs accuracy. There’s no way around the fact that wrist cuffs are more comfortable to wear, easier to operate, and can be used on-the-go. But the readings can be inaccurate when not properly used. On the other hand, upper arm cuffs can be more uncomfortable but are typically the most accurate.
Blood pressure monitors can be either digital or analog. The latter doesn’t require power and tends to last longer due to not having any technological part that might need replacing. However, they’re trickier to use, as you’ll have to inflate the cuff with a hand pump, do the readings manually, and write them down yourself. So, investing in a digital device might be worth the higher price tag. Moreover, electronic blood pressure monitors can be used by multiple people and connected to the internet to share readings with others, such as your doctor.
Why Have a Blood Pressure Meter at Home?
Whether it’s because your doctor asked you to or because you want to monitor your health more closely, having a blood pressure meter at home is always a good idea. It allows you to monitor your blood pressure daily (or even several times a day) without having to leave the house. More importantly, you can easily keep records of your measurements over a specific period of time, which will help you see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. This is useful information for your doctor to decide if you need medication or to check how your current prescription is working.
All seniors should keep track of their health parameters, but older adults suffering from conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease should monitor their blood pressure regularly. Especially for those who live alone, having a blood pressure meter at home can be very useful to ensure everything is OK throughout the day.
Recommended Blood Pressure Monitors for Seniors
A&D Medical Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor With Wide Range Cuff
The easy-to-use A&D Medical Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor is clinically validated for accuracy and has gentle inflation for more comfortable reading. The device comes with a cuff that fits most arms (8.6” to 16.5”), and you just need to click on one button to make it start. The number display is quite big, so seniors with poor eyesight won’t have trouble reading them. However, this is an analog monitor which means you’ll have to record your readings manually. The $29.48 monitor also comes with a rating indicator that automatically tells you if you’re within the healthy parameters. The company offers a five-year warranty for the device and two years cover for the cuff.
Omron Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor, 3 Series
The Omron Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor is another user-friendly device where you only need to press one button to start. It measures five times as many data points for consistent and precise readings, making it a much more accurate product. It’s also a good option for seniors who live with their spouse, as the monitor can store up to 14 readings for up to two users. Unfortunately, it doesn’t connect with other devices through Bluetooth, which means you won’t be able to upload your readings automatically. The cuff is designed to comfortably fit any arm size by having a wide range that goes from 9” to 17”. Better yet, the device also displays how healthy your blood pressure is by displaying a bright green, yellow, or red light after the measurement.
LifeSource Small Cuff Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
With a cuff size that ranges from 6.3” to 9.4”, the LifeSource Blood Pressure Monitor is perfect for seniors with smaller arms. The product is clinically validated for accuracy and can store up to 90 readings, each one with a timestamp attached to it. The monitor has a large, easy-to-read screen and provides average readings. It doesn’t work for multiple people, though, as it’s not possible to create different profiles within the blood pressure monitor. It costs $72.99 with free shipping, and the company provides the standard five-year warranty for the monitor and two years for the cuff.
Withings BPM Connect
BPM Connect by Withings is the most advanced device on this list. You just need to place it around your arm and the device reads your blood pressure and sends it to your smartphone through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There are no wires whatsoever, it comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts six months, and it's also FDA cleared. Moreover, the results have a green-yellow-red color scheme to make it easier to understand whether your blood pressure is healthy or not. However, comfort comes at a price, and there are some reports that the device might not be the most accurate out there. To be sure, we recommend you test it out first while using a device you trust and compare the readings.
Low Blood Pressure and Risks of Falling
When you have low blood pressure, your body doesn’t move blood efficiently to the brain, which can lead to faint spells and falls. This can happen when you’re getting up quickly from a resting position or taking a shower (due to the heat), among other situations. If you’re prone to having low blood pressure, then it’s advisable to get a medical alert system with fall detection, so that if you do faint, help will be immediately on the way. Fall detection triggers when the user falls and automatically connects you to the care team, who will call for assistance even if you can’t respond to their call.
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