To get the most out of the YourPressure service, you will need access to a blood pressure monitor. They cost about £10-20. They’re available from pharmacies, larger supermarkets or online.
Using a home monitor lets you check your blood pressure at home without having to come in to the doctor’s surgery to get it done. We also find that when people measure their blood pressure at home, they tend to get more accurate readings than they do in the surgery. This might mean your blood pressure is actually lower than you think and so you may need less medication and this could stop any side effects.
The important thing when choosing a monitor is to make sure that it has a cuff that fits around your upper arm, rather than your wrist. The ones that fit around your wrist are not accurate enough.
A list of monitors that have been independently checked and are recommended by the British Hypertension Society (BHS) can be found here: BHS approved monitor list
More expensive monitors are NOT necessarily more accurate. Instead, they may have more features such as memory to store your readings or the ability to send readings to your phone.
Once you have a monitor, the other thing to check is that the cuff is the right size for your arm. If it’s too big or too small for your arm the reading will be incorrect. Many cuffs have marks on them to show you what the recommended range of sizes is. Others have numbers to show you what arm measurement they fit (measured around the middle of your bicep). If the standard cuff supplied with your monitor does not fit your arm properly, then order the correct size cuff from the manufacturer before taking any blood pressure readings.
Now, once you have a monitor and the right size cuff you’re ready to look after your blood pressure at home. Taking accurate home readings may mean you need less medication! Find out how to get started in our blog post “How to measure your blood pressure”.