“ Brand: Boots / Type: Blood Pressure Monitor „
I like to take my blood pressure every so often. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a medical condition or a blood pressure problem, I think I'm just nosy! I originally bought it when I was exercising heavily and found the results interesting. I also like to strap it on the arm of visiting friends and family - an unusual welcome, but I must say everyone is always interested!
I have had this blood pressure monitor for about 2 years now and have never had a problem with it. It has always worked perfectly, and I've never even had to change the batteries! The value therefore has been excellent. It cost about £50 new, has never caused me any extra expense, and myself and family also live in the knowledge that our blood pressure is fine. It's also nice to know that if anyone ever has a suspected problem in my household, we can test their blood pressure level without having to bother a doctor or nurse.
The monitor works in exactly the same way as the ones at a doctor's surgery. The black Velcro wraps around the top of the arm and attaches with Velcro. The start button is then pressed on the monitor and the Velcro begins to tighten. When it has finished, the band loosens automatically, and the computerised unit gives systolic and diagnostic blood pressure readings, as well as your heartbeat speed.
The reading can seem a little confusing at first glance. Luckily, the monitor comes with an information booklet that details what the readings mean, the difference between the two, and a chart showing how to tell if your reading is low, normal or high. It also comes with a blank chart where readings can be recorded, and a log kept of your blood pressure.
A recommended item, whatever the reason for purchase
I don't have the best health in the world, and about eight years ago I started getting dizzy/feeling faint spells.
I had my blood pressure checked by my GP on several occasions and it always seemed to be fine, but Hubby, who has a medical background, thought it would be sensible for us to have a blood pressure monitor in the house. That way, whenever I felt faint or dizzy, I could check it straight away and note any trends in the readings.
I'm also on the contraceptive pill, and so my doctor always checks my blood pressure every six months when I go for a prescription renewal.
Hubby and I first came across freely-available blood pressure checks on a Canadian holiday about 15 years ago - there were free machines in lots of pharmacies that you could just go up to and use yourself, so I was used to the idea of monitoring blood pressure being a good thing.
Put all these reasons together, and when I saw this blood pressure monitor in Boots about eight years ago I decided to buy it.
At the time of writing, the Boots Blood Pressure Arm Monitor costs £20.40 on the Boots website. My older machine has a very slightly different cosmetic design, with the memory button being turquoise (it's now white) and the inflate/start button being separate from the on/off button (they're now combined). The screen display, function and instructions appear to be identical to the product I'm reviewing.
The Monitor comes with its own black nylon zip-up case which has stood the test of time very well. The bag has proven robust, has no nicks or tears and the zip still functions properly.
The Monitor also came with an instruction booklet which outlines what you would expect - how to use and maintain the machine, and what the readings show. In addition, the booklet also contains an excellent layman's guide to interpreting readings as well as what high and low blood pressure readings could mean.
The machine itself is divided into two parts; the base unit and the cuff. The base unit is fashioned in white and blue plastic and includes the LCD screen, buttons and battery compartment. The machine takes 4 x AA batteries and I think I've only ever had to replace them once in all the years we've had the machine. There is a mains lead socket (although no mains lead is included in the purchase) so it could be run off the mains if desired.
The second socket on the machine is where the cuff is plugged in. The cuff is made of a grey plastic air tube which leads to the grey, fabric cuff itself. The cuff has an instruction label sewn to the outside which clearly shows how the cuff must be placed. The inside of the cuff is made of a slightly rough grey fabric, and is comfortable to wear. The whole ensemble fastens to your arm by means of a thin metal loop (similar to the mechanism on some belts) and a massive strip of velcro.
Using the machine is straightforward. Once the cuff is placed and tightened the machine is switched on and the cuff inflates. Once the reading's been taken the machine deflates and the blood pressure and pulse readings flash onto the screen. Both can be stored in the memory, really useful if you want to keep a history of your readings, although a pen and paper would do the job as well!
I've been really pleased with this blood pressure machine. Although I only get dizzy now from time to time I still keep an eye on my blood pressure, checking it every month or so. The machine gives me (and my Hubby!) reassurance about this aspect of my health. It's an easy to use machine, is no trouble to maintain and it takes up very little room on the shelf.
I think this machine has been an excellent investment. Peace of mind for £30? Well worth it.
I've had hypertension, or high blood pressure for some ten years now and with a family history of heart disease and losing my younger brother to heart failure nearly two years ago, it's something I take very seriously. I won't go into what caused mine; it's enough to know that I need to take medication to control it probably for a lifetime. Since I also have high cholesterol (familial) diet alone is insufficient to control it and there were times over the last three years when I got very scared, often at night when I have heart palpitations. Mostly it's either indigestion or anxiety, but I needed reassurance without running to my doctor every five minutes, so I went shopping for a blood pressure monitor.
Boots are very good at providing equipment for health checks and I found an arm monitor for just £14.99 about three years ago. It was reduced at the time and although I can't find the exact same monitor, the latest and nearest to the one I own is £30.60 now. I wasn't concerned with the price at the time, I needed reassurance and that is priceless to me.
The monitor, upper armband and instruction booklet came in a handy black zip-up case inside a sturdy box. I still have the original box as I use it to hold my batteries in. I also want to keep it out of the way of Jack when he stays, and the black case itself is too plain. I chose the upper armband as it was what I was used to, I'm uncertain about the difference between the upper arm and wrist, but living alone I can still manage the upper armband easily.
The monitor is a white casing housing the display panel and has an attachment to the armband which is similar to the type the doctor uses with the black pressure band feeding through a chrome guard which helps to keep the band in place while you stretch it to comfortably fit around the arm just above the elbow. It's got a diagram on the cuff itself with a red satin edging showing where the artery mark lines up with the correct position on the arm. It takes a little bit of practice to get this right but there is also a margin, which has the words OK, and 'Index must be in OK range.' It might sound technical but in use it's just lining up the pressure cuff properly.
Once you tighten the cuff around the upper left arm, you need to make sure that the arm and the monitor is at an equal distance with the monitor in line with the heart. This is best done by sitting at a table and placing the monitor on a book if necessary to get it in line. I find it works okay as long as I sit at the table, but it might be different for shorter people. My friend did have some problems with the alignment, which didn't affect her results.
After getting the armband in the correct place you simply attach the rubber hose to the unit and turn the unit on at the on/off button at the front of the unit. The blue display box briefly shows the maximum readings so you know its working and then it reverts to the number 0. When you press the button its best to keep very still and as quiet as possible. The cuff starts to compress your arm, just as a hospital one does. It feels a bit tingly and initially seems alarming as the top figure (the systolic) goes up to about 170, this is just the machine in use, the reading doesn't start to measure until a little heart shape starts to flash below the figure which starts to descend. Unless you've watched this being done at your doctor's surgery or hospital it can look strange. Soon the pressure starts to ease and the display flashes once and stops at your reading.
The top reading is called the Systolic and is marked as SYS on the unit. Underneath is the diastolic reading (DIA) and this is the one that determines how the reading applies to you. There's also a pulse reading, which is marked simply pulse. The attached leaflet tells you the different ranges of blood pressure and is very comprehensive. There's also a chart to keep a daily, or weekly reading and this helps to determine how well you are doing. Lots of things can play havoc with BP and a high reading shouldn't be a worry at first. The very act of having the machine on can make the systolic reading go high, but the lower reading is usually pretty accurate. We've all heard and suffered in many cases from 'White coat syndrome', this is when your BP goes up on seeing a doctor. It's mainly just nerves.
Other things that affect the reading can be stress, noise and movement, hence the advice to get comfortable, calm and quiet. Sometimes the reading will still seem high, but leave it a few hours and try again; it's normally gone down then. Once you've taken the reading, take off the cuff, wipe clean and put the unit away. It's not advised to keep repeating the reading too much, but this is normal when you start out, everyone feels a need to check out their BP when it's first diagnosed.
As I mentioned, I bought my BP monitor for reassurance. My own BP is well controlled with a lot of variation on the top (systolic) figure when I'm stressed. Taking my own readings has helped me to calm down when I wake with a pounding heart. Sometimes my pulse is a little fast, but generally there are ordinary reasons for this and using the monitor helps me to see the patterns of my condition. With more exercise and diet I've even managed to lower my BP and pulse rate. Occasionally I have needed to see the doctor and then the reading is either confirmed or has gone back to a fairly normal level.
I like the Boots BP Monitor as it's as near to the doctor's own as possible. The price is reasonable for what is a good piece of equipment. It still looks new and I take the batteries out between readings, which have gone down to one or two a month now. My doctor was okay with me using it, as some doctor's think people will panic if they get a high reading, not all doctor's will approve. Since a bad case of indigestion can imitate a heart attack it's reassuring when you see all is well. It also helps me to feel I'm in control of my condition.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find it helpful.
©Lisa Fuller. 2011.
As I am now in my third trimester of pregnancy I am very used to my blood pressure being taken. One of my friends bought the Boots Blood Pressure monitor when she was pregnant and has kindly lent it to me.
I have found it very handy to check my blood pressure when I am at home in-between midwife appointments. There are main charts available on the Internet which you can use to gauge your blood pressure and if you feel it is on the high side then I would suggest you contact your doctor or nhs direct to get medical advice. I find it useful to gauge when I have perhaps overdone it a bit a should rest for a while. I think if I hadn't had the monitor I might have been a bit more worried about my state of health.
I have found the monitor easy to use. The strap has clear markings on it showing you where it should go and after a couple of tries you should find it easy to place correctly on your upper arm. It is secured by Velcro and fits well on my somewhat thin arms. Once secured you merely press the start button and will feel the strap tighten. This feels as if someone is giving your arm a good squeeze but the sensation doesn't last long. The monitor will display three figures showing your diastolic and Systolic blood pressure and your heart rate.
Tip- I would suggest you look away from the monitor whilst the reading is being taken if you find your blood pressure stressful. Also your blood pressure reading can vary depending on the time of day it is taken. Obviously if in any doubt you should get medical advice.
My dear husband hates his blood pressure being taken and this can cause it to increase so I am trying to convince him to try this monitor at home in a more relaxed environment to get a better idea of his blood pressure.
Both my friend and I have used the monitor a lot and the batteries are still going strong. If you accidentally press the start button too soon then by pressing the button again it will cancel that reading which is useful when you are getting used to the monitor.
About 10 years ago, buying a blood pressure monitor wouldn't have left you with much change from £60. They have come down in price considerably, as awareness of hypertension has improved.
I wanted to be able to check my blood pressure at home, as I'd had some high readings at the doctors surgery. Boots had reduced price from £29.99 to £14.99, and this seemed very persuasive to me.
This one takes the reading on the upper arm, rather than on the wrist.
Essentially, the cuff is strapped fairly tight on the upper arm, you press "start", then you feel the cuff tightening for about 10 seconds. Then within another 10 seconds it comes up with the result for your systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number).
Within the packaging there is a clear diagram for users. The monitor requires 4 AA batteries. I would recommend you use good quality batteries, as regular use causes them to run out fast.
The display is clear, and the machine will last a reasonable amount of time. I've owned this one for nearly 2 years. It has been dropped on the floor lots of times, and it still works fine.
A diary is also provided for you to write down your readings. This is important, because it is your average blood pressure reading which is important, never place too much importance on one reading.
I strongly recommend everyone to buy one of these as many people get artifically high readings at the doctors, known as "white coat hypertension", which causes them unnecessary worry, I was in this situation. Checking it at home enabled me to monitor what I could do to reduce it and keep it at the textbook level. I was able to reduce or increase my exercise regime accordingly.
The one worry I had about this particular monitor was whether it was accurate or not. I checked it against a wrist monitor my friend uses, and the readings were exactly the same, give or take 1 or 2 points on the top number. Therefore, I no longer have concerns in regard to this.
Overall, this is a great piece of equipment which anyone who is interested in their health should own. It shows you don't have to spend a lot of money, this one has lasting quality.
I decided to buy one of these for my partner, who after suffering a few health problems recently, thought it would be a good idea, enabling him to keep a record of his blood pressure on a daily basis, rather than just on a visit to the GP or hospital.
I was told by a friend that you can buy a monitor for £9.99 from Lloyd's pharmacy, however, when I went to have a look at them, they were out of stock. I then went to Superdrug where the cheapest was £60.00! And then to Argos where they had one at half-price £15, but guess what? Yes, out of stock too! Boots was the final place I visited and I asked one of the assistants at the pharmacy counter, who explained they had 3 or 4 different ones at prices ranging from £15 - £70.
I asked what the difference was, as surely they all do the same thing? She explained that some monitors fit around your wrist, and others have the arm cuff (like the ones at the GP and hospital) . Also some monitor's are just to be used by one person, and other's could be used by more people. I presumed that this must be due to maybe the monitor keeping record of your readings etc.
The assistant explained that the one they sold for £15 right now, was in fact half-price and they had sold out! Apparently as soon as the stock comes in, it is sold! She told me they were expecting a delivery the next day, if I wanted to wait. After taking a look at the other monitor's, I decided to wait as I could not see much difference between any of them. The assistant also advised that if she was purchasing one, she would purchase the one at £15 also, as it was one which had an arm cuff, which she advised were better than the ones which go on your wrist.
I returned to Boots a few days later, as could not get there the next day, and found they had two left in stock, so I purchased one.
Boots Blood Pressure arm monitor comes boxed with a storage case included, which is very handy. The storage case is a plain zipped square case, around 6 x 5 x 3 inches, so quite compact and easy to take away with you. The monitor itself is small and different to the one shown on the picture here, as it looks smaller and is shaped differently.
Included is 4 x AA (LR6) batteries , the arm cuff, and instruction manual, including a diary for you to keep record of your readings.
This monitor can be used by more than one person as you do not enter any details onto the machine itself, you just simply attach the cuff, press start, and around 30 seconds later you are given your blood pressure reading and also your pulse reading.
The cuff itself is very straight-forward to use, and full instructions are provided as well as diagrams on the cuff, to show you the exact position you need to place this on your arm. This is 2 - 3cm above your elbow on your left arm with the air tube running downwards towards your wrist. It is also important that the cuff is level with your heart, with any difference in height being adjusted by placing a cushion under the elbow.
The reason for this is to ensure that you do not obtain a reading that is either too low (if measurement is taken above the heart level ) or too high (if measurement is taken below the heart level ).
It is also important that you do not talk or move during your reading as this could affect the measurement.
When you press start, the cuff slowly begins to inflate. As the cuff pressure begins to drop, this is when your blood pressure and pulse rate is measured.
When the cuff pressure has dropped to the point where the monitor can no longer detect your pulse, your systolic and diastolic (upper value and lower value) blood pressure levels are displayed on the screen. Your pulse reading appears below this.
The instruction booklet gives you the guidelines for what is considered to be 'normal' range for blood pressure and pulse readings. You can record your readings in the diary section of the booklet.
This is a great little machine, very very easy to use and is still available right now in Boots for only £15, instead of the usual £30, so quite a bargain! There is no need to pay £60 as this does the job perfectly, and can be used by more than one person.
High blood pressure affects over 16 million people in the UK and being able to check yours at home helps you feel more in control of your own health. I would recommend this monitor to anyone who is looking to buy one.
It is estimated that 16 million people in the uk alone suffer from high blood pressure which puts them at a great risk of circulatory problems, heart attacks and strokes.
Being able to monitor your own blood pressure at home is ideal for anyone who doesnt like to visit the doctor every week and allows you to take controll of your own health problem.
This blood pressure monitor is just a basic monitor so at £39.99 it is very expensive compared with the lloyds one at only £15 which is just as good.
This blood pressure monitor comes with a black fabric zip up case which you dont get with the cheaper models but you could use a small make up bag for this, it is easy to use, has an on/off button and a start button, it has space in the memory to store 7 readings which is usefull to have to monitor your increase or decrease, the screen is digital and an lcd so us easy to read even for the elderly as it is displayed quite large.
The arm cuff fastens with velcro making it easy enough to be able to be used alone and requires 4x aa batteries to operate.
You get a diary record with this to write down your readings, a 2 year guarantee and a manual which is very helpful if you are a novice as it tells you what your blood pressure should be and what to do to reduce it or increase it depending on which direction it is wrong.
I have had this blood pressure monitor for about 6 months now as i got it as a gift last christmas, it is realy easy to use but just does the same job and has the same functions as the previous lloyds one i owned which was less than half the price of this one.
Wholst these blood pressure monitors are a good indicator and usually very accurate they do struggle sometimes to read readings that are very low like mine.
I monitor my readings 3 times a day as i have a heart condition that reduces my blood pressure drastically causing me to faint, there have been times i have tryed to get a reading and it has been too low to register on the machine which is ok now i know that but i just thought it was faulty to begin with untill my nurse told me about the low reads not picking up on hers either.
I bought a blood pressure monitor today from Boots. I have to have six monthly blood checks because I have type 2 diabetes. No great shakes, only today when I went for the results the GP took my blood pressure and it was pretty high, which is unusual for me. I am not going to get into what hypertension is etc. that is for a different review and there is plenty of information on the net. This is a review of the new blood pressure arm monitor by Boots.
Reduced from £29.99 to £14.99, I remember these a few years ago at plus £50, so that is the first bonus, plus of course points on the old Advantage card.
What is it?
Pretty much what is says on the box, which by the way is cardboard (good, recyclable) and not too fancy, in fact it looks distinctly 80's. It is a portable, battery operated blood pressure arm monitor that also takes your pulse.
In the box:
One blood pressure arm monitor, one cuff for the upper arm, one instruction booklet, one case.
How to use:
This really could not be simpler. Put the 4 batteries in, attach the cuff 'pipe' to the machine, place the cuff on upper left arm, there are lots of instructions on the cuff that show you how to place it. Press 'start', the cuff 'pumps up' around your upper arm, just like at the doctors and 30 seconds later you have a blood pressure reading that shows 'systolic' (the high one) and 'Diastolic' (the low one).
There is a a handy diary section of the instruction booklet to record blood pressure with 72 spaces. I intend to record this twice a day until I go for another check in two weeks.
Cheap, but robust white plastic, easy read LCD display on the front and a nice big start/stop button. Batteries are easy to replace (often an afterthought in my opinion). The 'cuff' attaches easily and obviously to the Monitor and I really like the fact that the cuff is pretty foolproof. With a picture of an arm showing you how to place it on, a clear diagram showing where to place the point of the cuff near the artery it really does not get much easier.
Case, looks just like a cheap toiletries case, black with a zipper, which means these monitors are easily transportable, no logo's means that noone knows your buisiness either, and just for good measure, their is enough room left with the monitor packed for me to put my blood/sugar monitor in too!
Very clear, pretty plain English as far as I'm concerned, great diary section as mentioned, fault finding page, and lots of good, clear diagrams, good tips, such as getting the monitor and arm at heart level (like when do they do that at GP's?). In addition the instruction book makes clear that this is not the be all and end all, that folk really should go to their GP or other health professional if needed. There is also a link to the Blood Pressure Association.
So why bother when you can go to the GP:
For me, I got a shock when I had my BP taken and it was high, so I took it at the chemist and again when I got home with this machine. The chemist and this machine put it somewhat lower, so when I go back to the GP I will suggest he uses a different machine (they need regular calibration), so personally it gives a bit of peace of mind (though I still need to lower it a bit).
It is useful for anyone to have a quick check regularly of their blood pressure because any changes should prompt one into a GP visit. Most people that have high (or low) blood pressure do not realise it, and they are certainly risking their long term health.
£15, not a lot to pay for a piece of information which may prompt you to go to the GP or even better, make some lifestyle changes. Do not regard this machine as an indication of everything being okay, nor a harbinger of doom. This is not a piece of medical equipment, just a 'snapshot' guide.
BOOTS INTELLISENSE BLOOD PRESSURE ARM MONITOR
BLOOD PRESSURE MEASUREMENTS
Ive included this bit as I hope it may be of interest to those of us (and I include myself in this category) who have had their blood pressure measured by their GP, but at really taken much notice of what the measurements meant after all, I sure that for many of us, our feelings would be the Doctor is there to tell you if there is a problem, isnt he ?
The simplest explanation that I can find of what Blood Pressure actually is states that it is the force required for your heart to push blood through your arteries.
This explanation could be compared to a situation like a central heating system pumping hot water through radiators. However, in general these kinds of mechanical systems (i.e. the central heating system) produce a stable, constant pressure, unlike the heart which beats producing two pressure levels, these are referred to as:
Systolic Blood Pressure The pressure created when the heart contracts and produces the highest pressure level, this is the first figure given by your GP or indicated by the Blood Pressure Monitor.
Diastolic Blood Pressure The pressure created when the heart relaxes between contractions. This is the lowest pressure level, and is the second figure given by your GP or indicated on the Blood Pressure Monitor.
So, when you are given or take a Blood Pressure reading, it consists of two numbers, Systolic Blood Pressure over Diastolic Blood Pressure level. Most Blood Pressure Monitors are designed to actually display the readings so that the Systolic reading is actually displayed above the Diastolic reading for convenience.
Note that Blood Pressure readings are usually expressed in terms of millimetres of Mercury (mmHg), this is a convenient unit as actual levels are relatively low. As an example, the Blood Pressure reading 140/90 (mmHg) would be expressed as 2.7/1.7 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) which is an inconveniently set of small numbers.
It has to be noted that Blood Pressure levels will change for each individual due to many circumstances, for example taking stimulants such as coffee, or physical activity can increase readings. Illness can also affect readings.
According to the literature that I have read, normal Blood Pressure Levels should be no higher than 140/90, but of course this will vary between individuals.
THE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR
CHOICE OF DEVICE
~ Why did I choose this Manufacturer and Model ? ~
After being informed by my GP that my blood pressure was on the high side and needed more frequent monitoring, I decided to purchase a device of my own to avoid the need to make repeated trips to the surgery.
I wanted a simple to use electronic, battery powered, arm Blood Pressure Monitor that cost less than £100.
The one name that I know of in this particular field of measurement is Omron which is often the manufacturer of choice in Doctors surgeries (in my experience). Therefore, initially, I looked for an Omron Blood Pressure Monitor (BPM) in the Health and electrical stores in my local town.
I found that my local Boots store was the only place where I could find a reasonable range of devices, predominantly products badged with the Omron and Boots names.
On further inspection I discovered that the chosen BPM appeared to be almost identical to an Omron device that I had seen elsewhere. In addition, looking in the product manual it actually referred the user to Omron if a mains adapter was required. I concluded that this model was probably a re-badged Omron device.
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
The unit is packaged in a fairly rigid cardboard box measuring 20cm (long) by 10cm wide and 12.5cm high. The box is predominantly mid-blue with text and illustrations in white, red and dark blue.
The box includes adequate information to help the potential purchaser decide if this device includes the desired functions and also to inform about what is included in its contents. There is also a clear picture of the device itself and its associated arm cuff.
Inside the box, each piece of the device is wrapped in a polythene bag.
The actual contents are:
Blood Pressure Monitor
Arm Cuff (with tube that connects to the monitor)
4 x AA Batteries
Plastic case to hold the monitor and cuff
Record diary (a small booklet to record your readings)
The items dimensions are approximately:
Width 17.5cm (max)
Height 6.5cm (max slopes from back to front)
Weight 480g (without cuff, but including batteries)
These are presented in a small (13cm by 11cm) paper booklet with 12 pages (24 sides) dark blue on white print in a small but readable size text.
The booklet explains what Blood Pressure is, what can cause high levels and what can be done about it. It then goes on to explain the operation of the device using good illustrations and easily read text. Towards the end of the manual it includes sections on possible faults that may be encountered with the unit, a section on batteries and battery life, a short piece about maintenance and storage and some basic technical data. The contents page lists:
Important Information before use
Preparation and taking your blood pressure
Possible faults, causes and rectification
Maintenance and storage
In my experience, the instructions are more than adequate for you to competently use the device and interpret its readings with, of course, the limitations imposed by the non-qualified user (me !).
The Blood Pressure Monitor takes three measurements:
Pulse (beats per minute)
See earlier section about Blood Pressure for an explanation of these terms.
The display consists of two separate LCD displays, one above the other, both bold Black figures on a light grey background.
~ Top Display ~
This gives two readings:
Top Systolic Pressure (marked SYS)
Bottom Diastolic Pressure (marked DIA)
It also shows:
A heartbeat symbol indicating your active pulse
An up or down arrow indicating if the arm cuff is inflating or deflating
Pulse rate (marked PULSE)
It also shows:
A number (when in memory recall mode) indicating which memory is being recalled from 1 (most recently stored) to 14 (oldest stored).
The figures are approx 2cm high which makes them easily readable.
The device features a memory button (light blue marked M) used to recall the last 14 measurements made by the user. These are easily recalled by repeated presses of the button (memories cycle from 1 to 14 and then back to 1).
The right hand side of the unit has two buttons:
On/off button (Dark blue) toggles the unit on and off
Start button (White) starts a measurement cycle
The supplied arm cuff which is easily attached around your upper arm (1-2cm above your elbow) is easily attached using a Velcro fastener, and is made to fit arms sizes 22cm to 32cm in circumference. Boots will supply a bigger cuff free of charge in exchange for the standard size if required. The cuff is connected to the main unit via a thin plastic tube through which air passes to inflate / deflate the cuff.
Batteries (4 AA cells) are easily inserted in a compartment located in the base of the unit. The device can also be powered using a mains adapter which can be purchased from Omron (the handbook gives details).
EXPERIENCES IN USE
Using the BPM is easy; once the arm cuff is fitted correctly on your upper arm (easy to do), it only takes one press of the Start button to make the measurements.
The process is painless, with only a slight feeling of discomfort in the area where the cuff is inflated on your arm. You get to know when the measurement is almost finished when the pressure starts to release and you can feel your pulse beneath the cuff.
Measurements take approximately 30 seconds from pressing the Start button until the measured values are displayed. The cuff is only pressurised for about half of this time. Times do vary slightly dependant on the stability of the reading.
The device feels well manufactured and I believe that it will give many years of use as long as the cuff is not misused.
Measurements can occasionally produce unexpected results, with one or other of the Blood Pressure measurements being unexpectedly high or low. Due to the nature of the measurement process, these strange measurements will usually be due to the user moving during the measurement cycle, or the arm cuff being incorrectly located, or possibly located upside- down (which is hard to do, as the tube only lies comfortably one way, and there is a green band on one end of the cuff indicating the side that should be nearest to your elbow).
I found that taking 3 measurements about 5-10 minutes apart and averaging them gave more consistent results. It was also good for highlighting rogue measurements, usually caused by arm movement during the measurement process.
Try taking measurements at different times of the day to see how your levels are affected by different circumstances including stress, exercise, eating etc.
It must be remembered that everyone is an individual and each person should expect different Blood Pressure levels. So it is important to ensure that you are aware what is correct for you, and this can only be done by consulting your own GP who can offer the right level of advice. This device is a very useful tool for recognising changes in your Blood Pressure level, which may indicate other problems.
Measures Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure, and Pulse Rate
Easy to use and to interpret results
Clear easily readable display
Well manufactured and robust
I paid £79.99 for this device, which, on reflection and after further investigation, seems to be reasonable value for money.
There are cheaper units, particularly wrist mounted monitors, but as I have no experience their use and have not seem them in my GPs surgery, I have erred on the side of caution and bought something that I know works.
Overall I am very pleased with my purchase and it has been well accepted by my family who all take turns in using it to monitor their own condition. This can only be a good thing.
It is only when you are told that your blood pressure is too high or too low that you even give thought to this problem or at least it was then with me.
Your heart is like a pump to circulate blood round your body.
Blood pressure is the force needed for the heart to push blood through the arteries. The highest pressure in the cycle is when the heart contracts and is called Systolic or easier, the top reading of your blood pressure and the highest number shown and should normally be up to 140.
The lower reading is diastolic, the reading between contractions when the heart relaxes and blood flows into it and is lowest. This is up to 90 mmhg.
Once you know these readings you can take your own readings with this machine.
Once you have high blood pressure it cannot usually be cured only controlled.
The doctor can give you tablets which you take one a day for a long time!
A lot of people like me, although I like my doctor and I am used to going down and having my blood pressure taken get a bit nervous and then the reading isnt the proper one.
This is where a monitor comes in useful as you can do it at home and be relaxed which is great. You will find it easier to do it at the same time of day whenever and howoften you do it. You must not have a drink for at least 30 minutes before or exercise or be in anyway stressed.
You might think that £90 is a lot of money for this monitor but if you feel happier knowing that your blood pressure is not rising it doesnt matter about the money!
We got it for £40 in boots but that is because boots had marked it £40 not £90 and when they checked that it was displayed at £40 we were told, and hey who are we to argue, that their policy in that case is to let the customer have it at the marked price!
To use you need to put in two AAA batteries. Make sure you have no watch or bracelet on your left arm. Roll up your sleeve or better still be prepared and wear sleeveless. Wrap the cuff round your left wrist with your palm facing upwards. Hold your arm across your chest so that it is level with your heart.
Switch on and press start and the monitor inflates the cuff automatically to about 180 mmgh. The monitor will then start to work and measure your blood pressure. While this is happening you must keep still, dont move and more to the point dont talk.
The heart symbol will begin to flash. Then the readings will be displayed.
You can store this reading in the machines memory. Dont forget to turn it off.
If your reading is "odd" do it again before panicking as the batteries could be low etc if high see your doctor which of course if you know you have high blood pressure you will have already done.
Technical data for this machine is
Boots Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Blood pressure 20-280mmhg
Pulse 40-200 beats per minute
Blood pressure +/- 3mmhg
Pulse +/- 5% of display reading
Automatic via electric pump
Automatic pressure release valve
Pressure and pulse detection
2 AAA batteries
Auto shut off
5 mins after last key operation
I suppose those of you who know me are wondering why someone of 24 is writing about a blood pressure monitor. High blood pressure is a problem of middle and old age, surely? Well, I have decided to put this together after receiving a bit of shock recently after using this monitor (and even more of a shock in finding that I can put this information in the right category for once). Before I launch into that though, I think I should first explain a bit about this condition. - What is high blood pressure? The blood in our bodies needs to be kept under pressure from the heart to allow it to circulate properly - without this function, our vital organs wouldn't work. When the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries and creates pressure in them, which results in two forces. The first force (the systolic) is created as blood is pumped into the arteries, and represents pressure when the heart is beating. The second force (the diastolic) is created as the arteries resist the blood flow, and represents pressure when the heart is resting between beats. When blood pressure measurement is taken, it is in the form of two figures - the first and higher number is the systolic and the second is the diastolic, so the overall reading is given as one number over another. Blood pressure can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, movement or stress levels, but for an adult anything less than 90/70 is considered low blood pressure, while anything above 140/90 is considered high. While there is no ideal reading, normal is somewhere between the two. High blood pressure - or hypertension - may be caused by a number of reasons. The arteries may be narrower, there may be more blood, or the heart could be beating faster. This situation may be caused by a number of things, such as stress (which makes the heart beat harder due to the adrenalin released), being overweight (again, the heart has to work harder), eating too much salt, or dep
osits narrowing the arteries - your genes may also increase the risk. However, in as many as 95% of cases, the actual cause of high blood pressure is unknown. The big worry about high blood pressure is that there are no symptoms if you have it - without measurement, you may have the condition for years on end (therefore increasing your risk of kidney failure, heart attack and stroke) without ever knowing it. This is why the condition is known as the silent killer. - Why bother monitoring your blood pressure? As I have said, this is the only way to know what you blood pressure is. People at risk of having high blood pressure, or those on certain medications (such as the pill) will get their BPs measured regularly at the doctors, but this may not be possible for everyone else. Home monitoring kits are becoming more widely available though, so if you can afford one, you can keep a track of your BP yourself, in the comfort of your own home. - Why this monitor? Boots currently produce two monitors - an upper arm monitor, and a wrist monitor, both costing £90. My dad currently owns the wrist monitor, which he bought recently for a self monitoring programme on the advice of his doctor. I am familiar with this model through using his when I am at home, and from at my local clinic, where the nurses use this very same one - which for me is a good indication of the accuracy and dependability of it. The monitor basically looks like an oversized wristwatch, being made up of a large electronic display that is held onto your wrist with a Velcro strap (you can see a picture at http://www.wellbeing.com/shop/product_details.jsp?productid=1017187). You strap the monitor onto your left wrist, hold your arm at heart level, then turn it on - the strap then inflates, as the old fashioned pump-up arm monitors used to, and the electronic bits and pieces take a reading. Once the band has deflated, a reading appears on the LCD display, i
ndicating your BP. It's as simple as that. This monitor therefore makes taking home readings easy and quick, and you avoid the "white coat factor" that might give you false readings if it were to be taken at your doctor's surgery (where many people feel a bit stressed). The monitor is solid, batteries are easy to change, and it comes with a solid plastic case to protect the monitor while you are not using it. - But why did I use it? I am actually one of a minority of people who have consistently low blood pressure - unlike hypertension, this does have symptoms (headaches, dizziness, low energy), but it is really not a problem as far as I am concerned. I was tempted to try out my dad's monitor as I am aware that hypertension runs in my family, and was curious to see if my diagnosis of low BP held up some four years after I was told I had it. At rest, my BP was coming out with readings of around 90/70, slightly below what would be desirable. However, as I mentioned at the beginning, I had a bit of a fright from using this monitor - and it happened when I went home for a couple of days last Tuesday. The journey home had been tiresome, and my first train was delayed by 30 minutes, causing me to miss my local connection. I did eventually find a connection and arrive home, but I think we all know the feeling of being short on time and a bit harassed when this sort of thing occurs. An hour after arriving home, I was feeling calmer and less strung out, and was relaxing. Out of curiosity, I decided to take a BP reading to see if the stress of the journey had had any effect. I was quite shocked when my reading turned out to be 148/93 - stress had shot my blood pressure up from low to high, and even an hour after the stressful event was over, I was still recording high BP. It is alarming how easily this can happen and how long the effect can last for - and when you think how stressed we get during our lives, then this
could have long term effects on our health. - The benefits of having this BP monitor are: Makes you very aware of how stress and lifestyle affects your health Very quick and easy to use Saves a trip to your clinic for measurement Very solid and sturdy Well packaged More effective than the upper-arm monitor Compact and portable Accurate and reliable enough for my doctor to use one - But... It costs £90 Some would say ignorance is bliss! The monitor is made by Boots, as is available at their bigger stores or via www.wellbeing.com for £90. You can find out more about high blood pressure at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=468 http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/
When I passed 40, it was considered prudent to have regular blood pressure check ups. I have a weakness in the family which may affect me also some day. Now I am busy and work miles away from the GP so a test at home unit was the answer. I looked in a large branch of Boots for what available and finally settled the "Boots Blood pressure Monitor" - a battery driven model - see the price given below. I auditioned several models from Omicron and all sorts of units which worked by inflatable cuffs on the finger the wrist etc. However, I plumped for this model since it employed a wrap around cuff for the upper arm as you normally find in Doctors surgeries and the hospital. In use the unit is simple. The batteries are inserted and and the cuff put on and held in place via velcro. there is only one way to wear the cuff, it has a useful picture as well as a tab on one edge to identify which way is correct - The manual is not that helpful in explaining the readings and what to expect. Press a button to turn it on, wait for the unit to stabilise and show a ready indicator in the LCD panel and then press the test button. The batteries inflate the cuff until it is quite tight and then slowly deflates it whilst taking a pulse and blood pressure reading. Very good you might think, not so I'm afraid. It never manages to read the same blood pressure from one inflation to the next. It seems to need three or four attempts before it will stabilise, but then the readings will stilldiffer by about 10%. Quite frankly for a device of this importance you ought to be able to expect a better result. The shop assistants now have kindly advised that none of the home test units are that accurate, they can ony advise the that the pressure has risen a lot or the reverse. If you are worried, see the GP - and that is my advice exactly. We tried to calibrate the unit with the GP's but it was hopeless, so, I now make the monthly trip, ju
st to be sure.
It is an automatic blood pressure monitor. It includes meter, arm cuff, batteries, carry case, instruction manual and record diary.