Pros: Easy to use, pretty accurate!
Cons: Cuff can get a little tight, has to be placed just right!
Well, a blood pressure monitor is not one of the most exciting products out there! It doesn't play music or videos, but it does do something very important, and that is give you your pulse rate and blood pressure!
Let's assume that if you are looking for one of these you have hypertension, a heart condition, or you are a good old fashioned hypochondriac! Well, no matter what the reason, you want a unit that is easy to operate and takes accurate readings. A blood pressure monitor is useless if it is not accurate, or you can't figure out how to use it!
Unfortunately my weight is up a little bit, which means my pressure went up with it, so......orders from the Dr., monitor pressure at home.
I did a lot of research to find out which units were the best. First of all, you have to determine if you want a hard copy of your pressure. In other words, do you need a machine that prints out your readings on to a paper like that in an adding machine? If your Dr. wants a record of your readings, this is not the unit for you. It does not have a built in thermal printer.
If you don't need a built in printer, but you do want a unit totally automatic, this is the one. It seems that all the experts agree that a cuff device is more accurate than a finger sensing unit.
Let me tell you how this unit works, after all, you want to know at least the basics prior to purchasing it. The unit works on AA batteries, so nothing unusual here. Better to use standard readily available batteries, than one with specialized or expensive batteries! The unit has a cuff which slips over your arm with a green mark to indicate where the cuff should be positioned, in regard to your artery, which is near the crease of your arm. This will give you the most accurate reading, and lining up the green mark to the crease in your arm where it bends, makes positioning the cuff easy. It is a little tricky first positioning the cuff, but once you feed it through its metal bracket, you leave it like that and just slip it on and off your arm. I highly recommend just leaving it together, and expanding or contracting it to fit someone's arm. It is much easier to do it this way, than it is to take it apart each time, and believe me, I learned the hard way!
After the cuff is positioned, you turn the unit on. It will flash on the LCD display when it is ready to take your pressure. Once you get a ready signal, you press a button and that's it. The cuff inflates, tightens around your arm, releases, and takes your pressure and your pulse. These readings are shown on the display. You can go back by hitting a button, and compare the readings to a few previous ones. This way, you can follow your progress. The Omron has a limited memory that it will display, but again, will not print out.
I have found the unit to be pretty accurate. I have used it in the doctors office, and followed it up with the Dr. taking my pressure with his professional Baumanometer unit. The readings were actually pretty close, off by only a few (3-6) points on either sistolic or diastolic pressure. The pulse rate was almost right on!
Like every good gadget, there are some things you should know prior to purchasing. First of all, it is not 100%. If taking a very accurate reading is important to you, buy a professional unit and a stethoscope from a medical supply house. These machines are meant to give you a basic reading to monitor your pressure. If you do not want to bother with all that, or someone is elderly, this unit would be fine. It is totally automatic and the LCD display has large numbers, easy to read. You do have to be careful about adjusting the pressure however. This is a self-inflating cuff and can get pretty tight around your arm. You have to experiment a few times and see how tight the cuff has to be wrapped to obtain a good reading, and one that will not make the cuff get too tight! This Omron uses fuzzy-logic, which means that it senses how tight the unit has to be to get a reading, and adjusts itself accordingly. It also knows just when to let the pressure out and deflate the cuff.
If you are purchasing the monitor for an older person, or for yourself, make sure you experiment first to determine how tight the cuff has to be wrapped, and try to leave it set in that one position. It will make it a lot easier for the person taking their own pressure!
Well now you know really everything there is to learn about this unit. Would I recommend it to anyone, the answer is yes, BUT don't forget to adjust it first and get it set correctly. Once it is set up right, it will make it much easier for the person taking the readings. Also make sure the person taking the pressure will not be too surprised by the tightness of the cuff or the pressure itself!
One last related item that many people may not be aware of. Under most insurance policies, this blood pressure monitor is considered durable medical equipment. If a Dr. writes a letter or Rx for the unit, and states that it is medically necessary, many times the insurance carrier will either pay for the unit 100% or a portion of it. Check with your insurance carrier to see how they handle this equipment. It may save you a lot of money!