Blood Pressure Monitors Buying Guide

Blood Pressure Monitors Buying Guide

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What is the Meaning of Blood Pressure Monitor?

Blood pressure monitor, also known as a blood pressure meter or gauge is technically known as Sphygmomanometer and as the name suggests; it is used to measure the blood pressure. This device consists of an inflatable cuff that presses and gradually releases the artery under the cuff in a regulated fashion transferring this to a mercury or a mechanical meter that in turn measures the pressure.

Before getting into the depth of types of sphygmomanometers, we would need to understand a bit about blood pressure.

Types of Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure reading mainly comprises two metrics i.e. systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.

#1.Systolic Blood Pressure

While beating, our heart pushes out the blood to the body through arteries thereby creating pressure on these blood vessels. This pressure created due to the push is known as Systolic Pressure.

Normal systolic pressure is around 120. Systolic pressure above 140 typically indicates high blood pressure.

#2.Diastolic Blood Pressure

Diastolic Pressure also referred to as the bottom number, is the pressure generated on the arteries when the heart is at rest, in between the rhythmic beats. This period indicates the time when the heart gets filled with blood and itself gets oxygenated for its normal functioning.

Normal diastolic pressure is around 80. Again, pressure above 90 for this bottom number generally indicates high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Category Systolic mm Hg (upper#)   Diastolic mm Hg (lower #)
Low Blood Pressure Less than 80 Or Less than 60
Normal 80-120 And 60-80
Prehypertension 120-139 Or 80-89
High Blood Pressure

(Hypertension stage 1)

140-159 Or 90-99
High Blood Pressure

(Hypertension stage 2)

160 or higher Or 100 or higher
High Blood Pressure Crisis

(Seek emergency care)

Higher than 180 Or Higher than 110

Types of Blood Pressure Monitors:

Depending on the requirement, people use either digital or manual blood pressure monitors; the choice more or less varies on the accuracy versus the convenience factor.


They are mostly used by practitioners and are again of two types:

  • Mercury sphygmomanometers –  They are considered gold standard and show pressure in a mercury column.
  • Aneroid sphygmomanometers – These are mechanical and have a dial.


This is an electronic type whether or not, the inflation is manual or automatic. They are easy to use and can also be used in noisy surrounding. This is the most common variant used commonly at home these days.

Other Types:

Wrist cuff – In this case, the blood pressure monitor cuff is wrapped around the wrist. It is considered less accurate and are less common.

Arm cuff – Here, the cuff is tied around the upper arm. It is more common and also supposedly more accurate.

How to Use a Blood Pressure Monitor:

Blood pressure cuff needs to be wrapped around the upper arm or wrist (whichever applicable). Once done, the cuff needs to be inflated to a pressure higher than the patient’s systolic pressure so that the cuff tightens around the arm. Again the pressure induction will vary with the type of monitor, in case automatic, it will work itself however in case of manual; the pump needs to be used manually.

Once the cuff tightens it gradually releases the pressure and if heard with a stethoscope the first sound heard marks the systolic pressure and the point where the sound goes away (a whooshing sound) is the diastolic pressure. Systolic number precedes the diastolic pressure so the reading would be like 120/80.

Frequency of Blood Pressure Checking:

It depends from individual to individual but those with a heart or blood pressure condition should use it often and is advisable to keep one at their home. Even otherwise regular check-up can be done with the Doctor.

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