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Omron blood pressure cuff

The Best Blood Pressure Monitors for Home Use

The Best Blood Pressure Monitors for Home Use

This post is all about the best blood pressure monitors and why it’s important to keep track of if you have high blood pressure. See the table for the best monitors, watch the video on what high blood is and why it’s so dangerous, and see the bottom of the post to find the best ways to decrease your blood pressure.

What is Blood Pressure and Why is it Important?

Measuring blood pressure has been an important part of a typical Doctor’s visit since 1901, when Harvey Cushing brought the first set of devices to the USA. To measure someone’s blood pressure, is to measure the amount of resistance inside the blood vessels of the body. The more resistance, the harder the heart has to work to push blood to all parts of the body. Measuring changes in blood pressure is extremely important to monitor your risk for a heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.

When obtaining a blood pressure reading you will get two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure and the second number is the diastolic pressure. The systolic number is the pressure in your blood vessels as your heart beats. The diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats. Blood pressure readings are important to quickly and easily assess the overall health of your heart and cardiac system. An abnormal blood pressure may be the first warning of a more serious health condition even though you may not notice any changes in health and feel normal overall.

What is High Blood Pressure and Why Does it Matter?

A consistently high blood pressure may cause damage to the inside of your blood vessels. The higher the pressure is inside the vessels, the higher the amounts of shear stress against the wall that blood vessel. This can lead to vessel damage and start the cycle of blood vessel narrowing. Imagine this example, the faster a river is flowing, the more erosion on the sides of the bank for that river .

When there is damage to the inside of the blood vessels, plaque and clots begin to form in the areas of damage. This build up of plaque and clotting materials then in turn narrows the blood vessels, decreasing the area to which blood can flow and in turn increases flow resistance and BP even more. This is serious and causes many different serious life threatening problems including:

  • Heart Attack:  The consistent damage to the inside of the blood vessels can cause blockage and prevent blood from reaching our heart muscles.
  • Stroke: Damage to the blood vessels can cause the vessels within the brain to clog or even break causing a stroke.
  • Kidney Failure: Kidneys play a large role in filtering our blood, high pressure can cause damage to the vessels within the kidney and decrease the ability to filter. 
  • Angina: Consistent chest pain from prolonged damage to the blood vessels in and around the heart. 
  • Heart Failure: After having to pump harder and harder against more resistance from prolonged high blood pressure the heart begins hypertrophy or increase in size and have less ability to push blood to the rest of the body. 
  • Peripheral Artery Disease: The same narrowing of blood vessels mentioned above will also cause narrowing and disease within our vitals organs including liver, stomach, and other internal organs. 

High Blood Pressure

What is Normal Blood Pressure?

 

 

A normal blood pressure is 120/80 or anything close to that. Everyone’s will be a little different, and may be 121/76 but which is still considered normal. Lifestyle modifications and even medication may be a considered once your systolic is above 130 or the diastolic is about 90. Once you have your readings make sure to share with your doctor if anything concerns you. See the table for abnormal blood readings.

Blood Pressure Table

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure Daily and Keep a  Journal

Checking your BP daily is a great and simple way to track one’s overall health. Not everyone needs to check their BP daily. For example if you are young, with no history of heart disease, and currently not taking any medication then don’t worry about it. If there is a family history and there is other significant medical history such as diabetes, then it could be the difference of catching a serious cardiac event just in time or being too late by the time you can get medical attention.

One of the best ways to track your heart health is to keep a journal. Each day, mark the time of day, what your blood pressure was, and how much time of physical activity you performed that day. When you keep a journal it is easier to see changes within your blood pressure. Small changes may be harder to notice if you aren’t able to look back and see the gradual increases. Also, it helps your doctor when you go in to see them and maybe help in diagnosing and treatment depending on the changes see in your journal. This also helps keep you accountable for 30 minutes of physical activity each day, which is the best way to help lower pressure.

How to Check Your Blood Pressure

To get the most accurate readings there are few things to consider. First, make sure you are consistent and perform the same each time you measure.

  • Wait at least 30 minutes or more after exercise before taking a reading
  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or drink energy drinks before taking a reading

Position:

  • Try to perform in sitting with the arm elevated at heart level and resting on a table or the arm of the chair.
  • Try to relax and be still
  • Make sure to have the cuff positioned correctly on the arm.
  • Take more than one measurement to get a true average reading
  • Do Not perform on any arm or side of the body that has had a prior history of Mastectomy  

How to Decrease High Blood Pressure Through Lifestyle Modifications

Exercise Regularly

Exercising 30 minutes a day or longer has been shown to decrease BP by 10 points or more. There really is no better remedy than exercise. It is the magic pill we keep searching for in medicine but have already found.

Get A Treadmill

Walking or light jogging just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference for you Blood Pressure 3G treadmill

Get an Elliptical 

Ellipticals are a great way to get exercise while reducing stress on the joints on the hips and knees
470 Elliptical Machine

Get a Bike

The easiest way to start an exercise program that is back and joint friendly

Nordictrack GX4 Exercise Bike

Lose Weight

Blood Pressure often increases with weight gain. Even a loss of 10 pounds in weight can help lower your risk of a pressure related event. What’s the best way to lose weight? Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. You can’t out train a bad diet. For genuine great nutrition advice check our Friends at Nutrition Mission and hit subscribe. We love his material because he isn’t trying to sell you products and has the best nutrition advice around.

Organic Plant Protein Orgain Plant Based Protein

Get a Blender

One of the easiest ways to get all the daily requirements f0r fruits and vegetables for your busy lifestyle
Ninja Professional Blender

Easy Recipes

Don’t know where start? Use an easy smoothie recipe book to get started and find out what you like best.

superfood smoothies recipe book

Nutrition Mission Food Tips

Eat Healthy – Eat a well balanced diet with high doses of vegetables and try to avoid processed foods with high levels of salt (Sodium).

Quit Smoking and Cut Back on Drinking

Each time you smoke you elevate your blood pressure. I know you’ve already heard this from family, doctors, and coworkers but quitting smoking is the single best way to improve your blood pressure and overall health. Drinking in small quantities may actually help lower blood pressure but for MOST people drinking more than one drink may actually increase BP.

Tea Smoking Alternative

Nicotine Patches

Nicorette Gum

Do you have pain in the front of the knee? Check out our post on the best patella tracking braces for more information

Cut Back on Caffeine

Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the blood vessels smaller and can raise your BP in people that do not commonly consume caffeine. If you are a chronic caffeine user, caffeine may not effect your pressure.

Decaf Coffee

Switch to Decaf or half coffee. Our personal favorite is Kicking Horse Coffee

kickinghorse decal coffee

Decaf Tea

Decaf Tea

Disclaimer: Home BP monitoring is not a substitute for medical advice or regular visits with your doctor.  Even if you get normal readings, don’t stop or change your medications. Consult with your Doctor before beginning an exercise program. This is for informational purposes only.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.