Consumer Reports rates blood pressure monitors and glucose meters

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The blood pressure in some people goes up just thinking about a medical clinic (white-coat hypertension). It is fine otherwise. Others have elevated blood pressures at certain times of the day. If you have hypertension, prehypertension, or at high risk for getting it, you should consider getting your own cuff. Don’t take my word, look at the AHA recommedations that suggest the same.

If you get a cuff, you want one that is accurate, don’t you? Consumer Reportshelps with unbiased recommendations for blood pressure monitors, along with glucose meters, in their September issue, along with tips such as:

  • blood pressure monitors that use upper arm cuffs are more accurate than wrist cuff types
  • be sure to get one that fits your arm correctly
  • take your new monitor to your next medical visit. Take the blood pressure with your machine and compare it to the nurse’s reading (my tip)

They found 4 cuffs they rated best:

  • Omron Women’s Advanced Elite 7300W ($100)
  • CVS by Microlife Deluxe Advanced 344534 ($100)
  • Omron HEM-711AC ($90)
  • ReliOn HEM-741CREL (Wal-Mart), a CR Best Buy at $40.

 

Also, they found 4 glucose monitors they rated highly. The OneTouch scored a little better than the others. Don’t forget to take strips into consideration of overall cost.

  • OneTouch UltraMini ($20, $1.14 per strip)
  • Ascensia Contour ($80, $1.10 per strip)
  • ReliOn Ultima (Wal-Mart), a CR Best Buy ($9, $0.44 per strip)
  • Accu-Chek Compact Plus ($73, $1.10 per strip)

Regular blood sugar monitoring is important in diabetics who take insulin. Recent studies, however, have concluded frequent testing in type 2 diabetes, not on insulin, may really not be helpful, just costing money and increasing a risk for depression. Talk to your health care provider, and keep your scheduled appointments.

If you have hypertension or insulin-dependent diabetes, consider purchasing of the September, 2008, issue of Consumer Reports. It should have additional great info inside.

Have you ever had “white-coat hypertension”? Do you monitor your blood sugar? Do you think it is helpful?

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