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My husband gets quite nervous when he makes a rare trip to the GP's or practice nurse and as he is now in his forties, he is encouraged to attend the "well man clinic". He has been told in the past that his blood pressure is higher than it should be, but it has always been put down to the white coat affect. His last visit however, they recommended he monitor it himself at home as if not, they would need to consider anti- hypertensive medication (to lower his blood pressure). Hence I decided to buy the Omron M2 basic, which is a automatic blood pressure monitor, I purchased it for around £18 including postage from Amazon.
Blood pressure or BP is one of the key observations that are recorded and is often referred to as a vital sign. It is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. I have been a nurse for a long time and I was always taught that the top figure (systolic) is a 100 plus your age and the the bottom figure (dyastolic) is between 60 to 100. A more modern view would be as in the Wiki description. That "in the UK, blood pressures are usually categorised into three groups; low (90/60 or lower), high (140/90 or higher), and normal (values above 90/60 and below 130/80)"
The Omron description advised that it provides comfortable, quick and accurate blood pressure monitoring, that ensures that the arm cuff reaches the correct inflation and doesn't pump up too high.
Omron has been around since 1933, producing healthcare products, in 1973 they started selling blood pressure monitoring equipment.
The box is white, with a picture of the monitor on the front, the Box Contains
1 x M2 Basic Upper Arm Monitor
1 x Medium cuff (22cm to 32cm)
4 x AAA batteries
1 x Guarantee card
1 x Blood pressure diary
A larger cuff can be purchased separately, with an arm circumference of 32cm to 42cm
My husband (although I have had a go as well) puts this grey cuff on morning and night. It takes about a minute to inflate before providing the BP and pulse on its digital screen, he states that it hurts but I would disagree (!). My husband has opted to write his results in a note book but it does come with the diary. The instructions recommend that you avoid doing just after consumption of caffeine amongst other things. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It has been very useful, as it has shown that he does indeed have normal blood pressure and put his mind at rest.
I would recommend this device if you intend to monitor your own blood pressure, its easy to use and provides reassurance, therefore I'm giving it a 5 star rating.
I have been suffering with high blood pressure (hypertension) now for about three to four years. When I was first diagnosed I went to my GP who gave me a portable machine to monitor myself for 24 hours which I had to attach to myself and which took my blood pressure every hour for the 24 hours. I had a cuff on my arm with a tube which led to a small box which recorded the pressure and which was quite uncomfortable to wear. I remember I went into the spare bedroom so as not to wake my husband up as the buzz of the machine was quite noisy and it did wake me up every hour, that is until the one at seven in the morning which I slept through as I was so tired after such a disturbed night and ended up being late for work.
It was established from this exercise that I had quite high blood pressure and was put on 10mg of Lisinopril however this has recently been increased to 20ml. I had regular checks at the doctors but wanted to keep an eye on it myself so I bought this Omron blood pressure monitor. The recommended retail price is around £25 but I bought mine from Amazon for £19.99 although since buying it I have seen them on Amazon and also Ebay much cheaper. This came with a standard cuff which is 22-32 cm but you can buy a larger cuff which would be more suitable for men with bigger arms for around £15.
It comes in a box which contains the monitor, a medium sized cuff, 4 AA batteries, an instruction manual, storage case, a blood pressure pass and a guarantee card. It is similar to the one which the doctor uses and works the same way whereby you wrap the cuff around your arm snugly but not too tight with the tube facing downwards towards your elbow on the inside of your arm. It has Velcro at both edge of the cuff which fastens it securely onto your arm and there is a metal bar which you have to feed the cuff through before securing it. You can use either arm but I always put it on my left arm as I am right handed and find it easier to use my right hand to press the button. It is recommended to use it directly next to your skin or with a thin loose top as a thicker or a very tight top can give an incorrect reading.
The monitor itself is very simple and easy to use. It is white and basically has one large blue button which turns it on and off and also starts the cuff inflating. It has a digital screen which clearly displays the reading, and has a hole at the side where you insert the tube. The screen shows the two blood pressure readings, your pulse reading and there is also an irregular heartbeat detector.
You press the blue button once to turn it on and then again which starts to inflate the cuff which measures your blood pressure. It has Intellisense technology which can somehow gauge the correct inflation pressure for you which is a good thing as I have used my friend's blood pressure monitor in the past and it squeezed my arm so tight it really hurt. You still can feel the pressure on your arm as it has to inflate to a certain point in order to get the correct reading and If the cuff cannot get a reading it will pause and then inflate a bit more which can pinch your arm a bit however it is bearable and doesn't last too long. There is a cuff wrapping guide which displays as OK if everything is in the correct position but if for some reason it cannot take a reading you get an EE display and you have to restart the machine. When the correct pressure has been measured the cuff will start to deflate and you can feel the pressure of the cuff loosening and you will see a heart shape pulsing on the display while it deflates. You then hear a beep and your systolic and diastolic readings and your pulse rate will be displayed on the monitor. If your reading is especially high or if the machine detects an irregular heartbeat a small heart will be displayed.
There is a memory which stores your previous readings however I don't use this as I prefer to write it down in a little booklet I was given by my GP where my readings are plotted on a simple graph so it is easy to see at a glance how I am doing and if there is any marked changes. The perfect reading is 120 over 80 but I don't think mine has ever been that low and my average is still a lot higher. The top reading is systolic which is the pressure when your heart is beating, and the lower reading is diastolic which is the pressure in between the heart beats.
You should be relaxed and calm when you use the monitor and should not use it after doing any strenuous exercise, or directly after taking a bath or drinking alcohol or coffee. You should ideally be sitting upright with the cuff at around the level of your heart with your palm facing upwards and supported and you should not cross your arms or legs as this can affect the flow of blood. You should also refrain from talking as this can increase your blood pressure. If you are not using the machine correctly and are getting false readings this could cause more anxiety and worry than not taking a reading. I think that anyone who is concerned with their blood pressure should in the first instance make an appointment with your doctor as high blood pressure can greatly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
There are a few easy measures you can take to lower your blood pressure , such as losing weight, lowering your cholesterol, cutting down on salt and generally keeping fit. Since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure I have lost over a stone, my cholesterol has come down to 4.2 and I do more exercise, however I find it hard to cut down on salt as I do like it on a lot of food, although I do buy the lo-salt which I think is slightly better for you.
I would say that I use my monitor once a week now. When I first had it I probably used it every day but found I was getting a bit too obsessive about it and I find that I get a better overall picture doing it once a week. I would recommend this blood pressure monitor to self monitor your blood pressure but I don't think it replaces professional monitoring and advice. I would say it is particularly useful for people who have 'white coat syndrome' where your blood pressure increases greatly if you don't like going to your GP but would just like to know that your blood pressure is being maintained a healthy level.
Great to self monitor but if in doubt - get checked out!
I'm cheap. I'm Scrooge without the cane, and the lucky coin, therefore when my GP told me a forth-night ago that I should start watching out for my blood pressure, my already wee bit high pressure just sky-rocketed. "Great, now I have to get myself one of those things... and they're probably expensive, way over £50..." I remembered my uncle used to have one (he still does), and it wasn't just a penny or two, so naturally, being a Scrooge, I worried very much about the price. But, it turns out there is a God, and after my colleague at work got for his girlfriend (even younger than me) one of these Omron Basic M2 Blood Pressure Monitors, I decided given the unbeatable price (£16 then, now £14) and remembering that it's the same model my uncle has, that it's probably high-time to get one of them machines.
Given the fact that I bought it from Amazon, it came in an intimidatingly huge box, about 5 to 6 times bigger than the actual product. But no worries, it's only our own planet we're killing... The actual product in its box is rather small, so small and light in fact, that you can comfortably hold the box in one hand. Everything inside comes nicely wrapped in wee plastic bags and bubble wrap which acts as a pouch for the meter and the cuff. You also get 4 AAA non-rechargeable batteries (it also features a jack connection for wall socket-adaptor), so it's ready to use out of the box.
The shape of the meter is slightly triangular, facilitating an easy reading of the monochromatic LCD, that features very large digits for the high numbers, the lows and the pulse. Additionally, the intellisense feature will show various icons, before, while and after testing the blood pressure (shows heartbeat or hypertension). The meter features only one button, big round, under the LCD and it is for turning on/off and starting/cancelling a test. It is worth mentioning that the M2 Basic version only remembers the last reading so a detailed or any history for that matter of blood-pressure will not be available.
The cuff you get in the box is of medium size (22-32cm upper-arm), grey, with Velcro-locked tightening "mechanism". Really easy to use, and no second person is necessary for taking your blood-pressure. You also get warranty information and a wee booklet on how to use it properly, which I very much recommend reading.
---Reasons to get one---
In my 50s and last few times at Drs they were saying my blood pressure was too high and that I would have to wait to get a monitor to borrow to use at home to see if it was just going to the surgery that was causing my pressure to shoot up.
Was quite worried and did not want to wait so ordered my own to use at home. There was vast array on line to choose form but I just went for an inexpensive basic model that I found on Amazon - some are very expensive.
Now £15.99 on Amazon.
I was pleasantly surprised that I could purchase this model from Amazon for under £15 (I paid £14.50 a few months ago) - when others are way more expensive. The recommended price shown on Amazon is £47.25.
Also when I rang the Drs surgery they were happy for me to use this make as it is the same as they lend out anyway - rather than the ones that go on people's fingers - so I had made a good choice..
The cost on the official Omron website is £48.25.
If you need to buy a larger cuff the cost is £10.99 on the Omron website.
---What You Get---
Comes in a sturdy cardboard box 17 x 12 x 12 cms.
Navy nylon zipped bag
Thick instruction book (in 8 languages)
Monitor unit 11 x 13 x 6 cms
4 x AAA batteries
Cuff with tube attached.
Optional extras would be a large cuff or power cable.
---Ease of use---
Was a bit apprehensive but need not have worried - comes with a good comprehensive instruction book and batteries ready for use - and is way more simple than I expected.
You just put the tube from the cuff into the monitor and then fit the cuff to your upper arm and press a button - the machine does the rest!
It has a large easy to see LCD readout and simple one button automatic operation.
The machine measures your blood pressure and heart rate.
If the rate is outside the normal safe range a heart symbol will appear on the screen.
The cuff inflates automatically and then deflates itself as well - so could not be simpler.
Displays both the Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure.
Uses 'Intellisense' so that the cuff reaches the right inflation and does not over inflate.
Comes with a medium size cuff (22.32 cms) but a larger cuff can be purchased separately (32-42 cms).
Comes complete with 4 x AAA batteries.
The last reading is stored in the monitor's memory.
If you happen to move when taking a reading you may get an error on the screen 'E'. Do not worry - just retake.
The instruction book also has useful information on what is high and low blood pressure and also has a chart to record your readings.
It also comes with a little zip up nylon case but I keep mine in an old handbag.
So easy to use - was able to do a list of all my readings and forward to Drs so now no problem - think I must be one who is 'white coat hypertensive' - ie - pressure goes up in the surgery.
---Would I recommend?---
I had never used one before and was a bit dubious but it could not have been easier.
Easy to use
5 as I could not fault it.
Having overly high or low blood pressure can be the sign of an underlying health problem, but thankfully the "Omron M2 Basic Blood Pressure Monitor" offers a very cost effective, quick and easy method of being able to monitor your own blood pressure and heart rate anywhere and at any time.
Validated by British Hypertension Society and featuring a warning indicator should a reading be higher than the recommended levels, the monitor also features an easy to wrap cuff that goes around your arm, a crystal clear and simply LCD, one button operation, a handy carry case, and a two year warranty. On paper the product is sound and happily it was in practice too.
It's quick and easy to set up and understand, not overly noisy, doesn't over inflate the cuff and is reasonably quick in giving a reading (though not as quick as some of the more expensive models). The monitor is very precise give almost exact same reading as my older monitor (a Philips model that seems to be on its way out.) Build quality is good while also being light in weight, and even includes batteries and a card where you can record the readings over time.
The cost is very cheap considering the build quality and features of the monitor. For little over a tenner it's an essential tool that has lay the mind at rest knowing that despite everything else at least you know you're keeping a close eye on blood pressure. The Omron M2 ticks all the boxes and is a great example of what a product should be and do.
For your reference the following shows 'normal' blood pressure and you should be aiming for (information included inside packaging)
Less than 120/80mmHg
Blood pressure at the optimal level, continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle to keep it here.
Between 121/81 and 129/84mmHg
Blood pressure is average but you would benefit from reducing it into optimal.
Between 130/85 and 139/89mmHg
Blood pressure on the high side of normal and ideally methods should be used to lower it.
140/90mmHg and higher
If readings are consistently at or above this level you have high blood pressure, and should take action now or seek medical advice to lower it.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)