By Mindy Longhurst
May is blood pressure awareness month. High blood pressure is plaguing the nation and affects almost half of all American adults. Blood pressure levels should be measured more frequently than once a year at an annual check-up visit. There are many different tools to monitor blood pressure levels from home.
At home blood pressure monitor
Most major grocery stores sell some form of an at home blood pressure monitor. These monitors range in price and can detect blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. The monitors are placed on the wrist or arm and are very similar to a blood pressure cuff at a doctor’s office.
Blood pressure reading apps
Surprisingly there are dozens of blood pressure reading apps for smartphones. Our staff at the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University compared the free blood pressure app results with a nurse’s blood pressure assessment. The app was nine points below the nurse’s reading. The blood pressure app does say that there is a standard deviation of about three points, so this can account for some of the inaccuracy.
The app works with three easy steps.
- Press the screen with your finger
- Lightly place your index finger on the rear camera. Make sure the camera is fully covered
- Hold until the measurement is complete
Testing the blood pressure app.
The blood pressure cuff placed on the arm.
Keep a blood pressure journal
It is highly recommended to keep a daily blood pressure reading journal, especially if someone has high blood pressure. This journal helps to monitor blood pressure between doctor visits. When keeping the journal, make sure to bring in the blood pressure reading tool you use to show the doctor. This will help the doctor to understand the accuracy of the journal.