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High blood pressure runs in my family, there is no escaping from it and unfortunately there is not a great deal I can do to stop it. My Grandfather had high blood pressure and then sadly my Dad suffered a stroke at the age of 50, all due to high blood pressure and then my uncle had a short stay in hospital due to his high blood pressure so combine that with my mum’s blood pressure being a little bit higher than it should be I soon began to think about my own blood pressure that little but more.
I regularly attend appointments at my doctors to make sure they have readings but due to me getting the ‘white coat syndrome’ I am certain it is always a little higher than it really is so I decided to invest in my own blood pressure monitor.
The first thing that I will stress is that you cannot start taking readings all the time, I did get a little bit obsessed and my readings were all over the place so when you do go to take your reading, regardless of what monitor you own it is important to take the readings at the same time on the same day unless your Doctor has instructed you to take more varied readings.
The actual monitor that I brought was the Omron Digital Upper arm blood Pressure Monitor. It cost me about £15.00 and was in the sale at my local pharmacy. I did do some research and even asked a friends sister who is a cardiac nurse and there is a massive difference in price but all I needed was my reading so this model suited me well and at a fraction of the price compared with some of the more complex monitors I think I have found myself a bargain. I have not heard of the Omron brand before but have since discovered it is a leading brand in healthcare as well as being a specialist in blood pressure monitors.
The monitor comes in quite a sturdy cardboard box and I still keep my monitor in the box so it shows just how sturdy it is! I normally have a glimpse over instruction booklets but I was careful to read these instructions in detail in order to get the correct reading. The monitor consist of two main components, there is the base unit, which will show you your blood pressure reading as well as a pulse reading and then there is the component that will wrap around your upper arm. This is a grey colour and matches the display unit which is also grey and white in colour.
The monitor is quite easy to use and as this is a digital brand you do not have to worry about messing around with a pump, although friends that are nurses say this is the only way! The cuff will fit an upper arm that is 22 to 32 cm in circumference. You do need to place it onto your bare upper arm and have no clothing away. To make the cuff secure you need to pull the material through the metal bracket and then secure by the Velcro. You do need to make this quite a tight fix but not so much that you are cutting off circulation to your arm.
I have found that the monitor is best used when you are sitting down; I tend to do it at my dining table as it is a stable surface but anything like this is good. I run the lead that is attached from the cuff to the base along my inner arm and then with my other hand I press the on button, there are only two readings on the monitor so it is not in any way confusing on how to use. You have then 5 minutes to take the reading before the monitor will automatically shut down. You then need to press the button that is just below it and you will begin to feel the cuff inflating. It gets quite tight and then will deflate itself. You will see a couple of figures on the screen, this is the pulse and blood pressure ratings but after about 10 seconds, the figures will stop flicking and you will see your blood pressure reading.
The numbers are in a black font and are really quite big so there is no difficulty in seeing them. If there is an error then this will also flash up and you can re take your blood pressure. The monitor will also store readings for you so it saves you having to write them down, you press the bottom button after your reading and it will scan through your last 5 readings.
After having my blood pressure taken at work by the Occupational Health Nurse I had a good idea of what my blood pressure reading was going to be. I think it is a good idea to find out so you know that you are working the monitor correctly and my reading came out to what I expected, for those that are interested it was also lower than when I have it took at the doctors!
There are a lot of things that I do to try and control my blood pressure, I do not want to take tablets yet so monitoring it so carefully will at least let me know if there is a jump in it. I try lots of alternative ways and try to maintain a healthy diet as well as not smoking and I rarely drink now, prevention is better than cure and if taking these readings helps then I am all for it.
In summary, I would have no hesitation in recommending this blood pressure monitor. I think it is a great price and is very easy to use and most importantly it is accurate, there would be nothing worse than a false reading. It is comfortable to use and also neat and compact so it does not need a great deal of storage, mine sits at the top of my wardrobe. Without going on to much ,it is important to get your blood pressure checked, it is a silent killer and I am glad I have invested in this monitor.