Home Blood Pressure Cuffs Not Accurate Enough

An at-home blood pressure cuff.

70% of home blood pressure monitors are off by at least 5 mmHg.

At-home health devices like blood pressure cuffs have never been more affordable, more available or easier to use. But a new study in the American Journal of Hypertension says that those devices may not actually be accurate enough to help you and your doctor make informed decisions about your health.

This small study¬† looked at 85 adult patients–most of whom had been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure–and their use of home blood pressure monitors. What the researchers found was that 69% of the time the monitors were off by at least 5 mmHg and 29% were off by 10 mmHg or more.

That’s enough of a difference to worry doctors.

Being a man and/or having a larger upper arm seemed to be the main risk factors when it came to getting an inaccurate reading with an at-home monitor. The age of the device and its cuff design also figured in.

Getting An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading At Home

The authors of this study say that their research demonstrates the need for better at-home blood pressure monitors. But they add that it’s also important for patients to be taught how to choose, calibrate and then use a device that is appropriate for them.

The study was funded by a grant from the University of Alberta Hospital Foundation to be presented at the 2017 European Society of Hypertension meeting in Milan in June.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke but only around half of the 75 million Americans with high blood pressure have theirs under control. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart and kidneys.


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