Health Tips This at-home health tool is wrong 70% of the time

Home blood pressure monitors are wrong more often than not.

  • Published:
at home blood pressure tool wrong play

at home blood pressure tool wrong

(Photograph by Getty Images)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

​If you’ve been checking up on your blood pressure from home, it’s more than likely you’ve gotten skewed results.

Home blood pressure monitors are wrong more often than not, according to a new study in the American Journal of Hypertension.

University of Alberta researchers compared 85 people’s at-home BP monitor results to measurements taken by two separate people with a mercury sphygmomanometer—a more reliable method known as the gold standard for accurate readings.

The at-home monitor results were off the mark by at least 5 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) 69 percent of the time. And 29 percent of the time, they weren’t even within 10 mmHg.

Men, older people, and those with larger arm circumferences were more likely to get inaccurate results, and devices with hard cuffs were more likely to produce them.

These factors can give you a skewed reading because a poor fit can alter pulse pressure or make your veins stiffer, the researchers explain.

High blood pressure is the world’s biggest source of death and disability, and accurate measurements are necessary for either initiating treatment or tweaking it accordingly.

So it’s important not to rely on skewed readings, lead author Jennifer Ringrose, M.D., said in a press release.

If you use a BP monitor, she suggests comparing its readings the doctor’s so you know how off it is. And don’t base any medical decisions off just a few readings.

For instance, Canadian guidelines—where the study took place—recommend at least 28 at-home readings per week.

"What's really important is to do several blood pressure measurements and base treatment decisions on multiple readings,” she said in the release.

“Taking home readings empowers patients and is helpful for clinicians to have a bigger picture rather than just one snapshot in time."

In the meantime, make the most out of your at-home blood pressure measurements with these tips.

First, choose an upper-arm monitor over a wrist one, which tend to be less accurate, says Brent Egan, M.D., a hypertension researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Try one that has been vetted by the Dabl Educational Trust and the European Society of Hypertension—check out the list at dableducational.org.

Then, when it’s time to take your reading, sit with your feet on the floor and straighten your back with arms supported at heart level.

Give yourself five minutes to rest quietly before slapping on the cuff. This will help make sure you are getting a true reading, he says.

Additional reporting by Christa Sgobba

Follow Us: Men's Health

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos





Top Articles

1 Relationships and Sex Having this much sex might make you smarterbullet
2 Relationships and Sex How your big toe can signal problems with your...bullet
3 Relationships and Sex The vitamin you need so your penis can performbullet
4 Health Tips Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause baldness, but what...bullet
5 Odd Enough Pubic hair is becoming more popular, porn data saysbullet
6 Fitness and Weight Loss ​How to do the Superman pushupbullet
7 Odd Enough Close your windows and lock your doors because...bullet
8 Fitness and Weight Loss This is the physique women prefer...bullet
9 Fitness and Weight Loss ​This band exercise will rock...bullet
10 Fitness and Weight Loss These peanut butter protein...bullet

Top Videos

1 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO Crawl Control Demonstrationbullet
2 Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher Kissed 19x on That '70s Showbullet
3 Anchors Can't Stop Laughing Over Swing Confusionbullet
4 Ask A Porn Star: "Have You Had Sex With A Fan?"bullet
5 YouTube Challenge – Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Told My Dad I Love Himbullet
6 Washing machine throwing showdown - Guinness World Recordsbullet
7 Maria Bello & Viggo Mortensen sex scene in "A History of...bullet
8 Cape Lookout | 2017 Hotel Tacoma | Toyotabullet
9 8 Minute Abs - Orignal Classic AB Workoutbullet
10 How Many Times a Month Do You Have Sex?bullet

Men's Health