TAMPA - Mike Sheehan's morning routine includes checking his blood pressure. "I got my blood-pressure monitor to keep me calm. Last year my blood pressure went sky high and it scared me."
Consumer Reports Medical Adviser Dr. John Santa says regular monitoring is an important part of treatment. "Blood-pressure medications don't always work, so it's important to keep checking. And you can check your blood pressure more frequently at home."
Consumer Reports tested home blood-pressure monitors ranging in price from $30 to more than $100. Testers compared the results to readings from a standard device - the kind found in a doctor's office. Some of the home monitors strap on the arm, while others wrap around the wrist. Dr. Santa says, “Wrist cuffs are small and convenient, but our tests showed they aren't as accurate as arm cuffs."
In all, Consumer Reports tested 13 home blood-pressure monitors - and named two of the arm-cuff monitors best buys. The Microlife Deluxe Automatic for $40 comes loaded with features - like the ability to store readings for two users and download results for easy sharing with your doctor.
The second best buy - the $34 Relion from Walmart - has fewer features, but is also very accurate.
Both are choices you can count on to help keep your blood pressure in check.
Consumer Reports says monitoring your blood pressure at home is not a substitute for a doctor's care, so be sure to routinely have your blood pressure checked professionally. And if you're going to get a home monitor, check with your health insurer to see if it covers any of the expense - some insurers do.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
USF Health is enrolling patients to take part in a heart study that could change the way blockages are treated. We're taking action for your health with information on what the trial aims to do and who locally might be eligible to participate.