FAQ: Blood Pressure Monitors

Basics about Blood Pressure
What is blood pressure?

In the most basic sense, blood pressure is a way of measuring how much force is being exerted on the walls of your blood vessels (artery) as blood flows through them.

  • Systolic is the top number. It represents the pressure as your heart contracts to pump blood to the body.
  • Diastolic is the bottom number. It represents the pressure between beats, when your heart relaxes.

The following shows the different stages of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) according to the American Heart Association:

Systolic Blood Pressure Diastolic Blood Pressure
Normal ≤ 120 mm ≤ 80 mm
Pre-Hypertension 121-139 mm 81-89 mm
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 mm 90-99 mm
Stage 2 Hypertension ≥ 160 mm ≥ 100 mm

In terms of taking action based on your blood pressure readings, this should always be discussed and decided on between you and your doctor. You should never self-diagnose or adjust your medication if not prescribed by your doctor.

To learn more about blood pressure, click on the following links:

What is more important -- the Systolic or Diastolic reading?

Both readings are important. One measures your blood pressure during a heart contraction and the other measures blood pressure between heart contractions. For your particular situation, you should discuss both measurement results with your doctor.

Is it normal for my blood pressure to vary?

Yes, it is quite normal for people’s blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may measure your blood pressure. Many things, such as stress levels, food or drink intake, activity levels, even time of day can all affect a person’s blood pressure reading at any given time. In fact, there are published studies that show a given person’s blood pressure can change by up to 20mm within a day, based on activity levels, food/drink intake, stress, etc. This is why it is important to take your blood pressure on a regular basis, and review the overall trend of your blood pressure readings with your doctor.

For a convenient tool to help you easily track your blood pressure readings, click here.

What can I do to help better manage my blood pressure?

Managing your blood pressure doesn’t have to take a lot of work. In fact, small improvements to your lifestyle can help.

Exercise: Just be a little more active. Walk instead of drive; take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

Eat Smart: Try to find low-fat, low-sodium substituted that also taste great. Potassium found in bananas and carrots is nature’s best medicine for your heart.

Kick the Habits: Minimize your alcohol and cigarette intake.

Stifle Your Stress: Stress is a normal part of life. But too much can increase the risk of heart disease. Relax by doing things you enjoy (yoga, gardening, walking, etc.) and your heart can benefit.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home: Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis provides you and your doctor with the information to best manage your blood pressure.

These are just some examples. Discuss with your doctor on other ways how you can better your heart.

My blood pressure is not responding to the medications my doctor prescribe. What should I do?

You should contact your doctor and discuss the situation. Only your doctor is qualified to diagnose and prescribe medication, or make changes to medications in managing blood pressure.

Basics about Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Why should I monitor my blood pressure at home?

The American Heart Association recommends that anyone with, or at risk of high blood pressure, should monitor their blood pressure at home. Home blood pressure monitoring is one of the best methods of trending a person’s blood pressure in their own environment.

Click here for more information from the American Heart Association on who should monitor at home, and why.

What is the difference between monitoring blood pressure using a home digital monitor as opposed to getting my reading when I see my doctor?

Digital monitors measure blood pressure oscillometrically rather than by auscultation. In auscultation, stethoscopes are used to take blood pressure by listening for specific heartbeat sounds which the doctor then uses to determine systolic and diastolic pressures. Oscillometric technology measures the vibration of blood traveling through the arteries and converts the movement into digital readings.

Omron digital blood pressure monitors use the oscillometric method of blood pressure measurement. An oscillometric monitor does not need a stethoscope so the monitor is simple to use.

It is also important to note that Home Blood Pressure monitoring allows you to monitor frequently and share the results with your doctor if you desire.

What does Oscillometric technology mean?

Oscillometric technology measures the vibration of your blood traveling through your arteries and converts the movement into digital readings.

Are the readings different between an upper arm blood pressure monitor and a wrist blood pressure monitor?

It is quite possible that your readings may be different from your upper arm to your wrist as blood pressure varies throughout the human body. All Omron blood pressure monitors, whether upper arm or wrist, are validated in the same manner and have the same accuracy specifications. In terms of which type of blood pressure monitor is best for you, we recommend that you discuss this with your doctor, based on your individual needs.

For more information on Omron’s line of upper arm and wrist home blood pressure monitors, click below:

How much does an Omron home blood pressure monitor cost?

On average, Omron home blood pressure monitors can range anywhere from $49.99 to $109.99, depending on which model you select, and where you decide to purchase.

Click here to see Omron’s line of digital home blood pressure monitors.

Accuracy of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Are digital blood pressure monitors accurate?

All Omron blood pressure monitors are clinically proven accurate. They are clinically validated to be within the following:

  • Blood pressure: within +/- 3 mgHg or 2 percent
  • Pulse: within +/- 5 percent of reading.

This meets or exceeds the AAMI (Association of Medical Instrumentation) standards. To understand the accuracy levels of other manufacturer’s blood pressure monitors, you need to contact them. It is always important to investigate accuracy and ease of use before purchasing a home blood pressure monitor.

Will I see differences between my readings at home compared to readings in my doctor's office?

Yes, you will see some differences. This is normal and can occur for many reasons. Some of the more common reasons are:

  1. A person’s blood pressure varies throughout the day, so at any given moment your blood pressure can change.
  2. In terms of the amount of change; there are published studies that show a given person’s blood pressure can change by up to 20 mm within a day, based on activity levels, food/drink intake, stress, etc.
  3. You may have a condition known as “White Coat Hypertension.” This is a condition in which a blood person’s blood pressure rises above its usual level when it is measured in a doctor’s office or clinical setting.
  4. You may have a condition known as “Masked Hypertension.” This is a situation in which a person’s blood pressure falls below its usual level when it measure in a doctor’s office or clinical setting.

So do not be alarmed when you see differences between your readings at home compared to your readings in your doctor’s office. Discuss it with your doctor to get the best overall picture of your heart health.

What are the common causes of getting blood pressure readings that are inaccurate?

It is quite normal for people’s blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may take your blood pressure. Many things, such as stress levels, food or drink intake, activity levels, even time of day can all affect a person’s blood pressure reading at any given time. So, it is possible that you may just be seeing normal fluctuations in blood pressure.

However, below are some common situations that can lead to inconsistent or inaccurate readings:

Using the wrong cuff size for your arm

Just because the cuff may fit around your arm does not mean it is the right size cuff for you. The correct cuff size is directly related to the circumference of your arm. To get accurate readings, it is important that you are using the correct sized arm cuff. To determine your arm size, use a cloth tape measure and place midway between your elbow and your shoulder around the circumference of your upper arm. Wrap the tape measure evenly around your arm. Do not pull the tape tight. Note the precise measurement in inches. Select an Omron home blood pressure monitor with the right size of cuff included, or if you already have the monitor, and need a different sized cuff, contact our consumer support line at 877/216-1333, and they can assist you to purchase the right size accessory cuff for your unit.

View a short video on selecting the right size cuff.

 

Not using the cuff correctly

Make sure you are wrapping the cuff around your arm in the correct position. After wrapping the cuff around your arm, check the location of the brachial artery marker. The air tube should run down the center of your arm. The cuff should not be wrapped too tight or too loose. Look at the instruction manual for the monitor to get more detailed instructions on the specific cuff included with your unit.

Activities right before taking a measurement

Avoid eating, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking, exercising and bathing for 30 minutes prior to taking a measurement. It is also best to rest for 15 minutes before starting the measurement. Avoid taking a measurement during stressful times. Take the measurement in a quiet place.

Incorrect body position or moving too much

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arm on a table with your palm facing upward. The cuff should be level with your heart. Do not talk or move during the measurement.

Timing of taking measurements

Try to take readings at the same general times each day (for example, once in the morning and once at night) for comparison purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some common reasons why my blood pressure readings seem higher than expected?

There are many reasons why blood pressure readings may seem high. Below are some of the common reasons and the estimated ranges of how much readings can vary. It is important to ensure you are using the monitor as it was intended, so please make sure you are following the directions in the instruction manual, or call our consumer support line at 877/216-1333 if you have questions. It is also important to note that if you can continue to see high readings, discuss with your doctor or a medical professional — it is possible that your blood pressure is actually higher than what you believe it to be.

Factors Affecting Accuracy of Blood Pressure Monitors¹

Factor

Magnitude of systolic/diastolic blood pressure discrepancy (mm Hg)

Talking or active listening 10/10
Distended bladder 15/10
Cuff over clothing 5-50/
Cuff too small 10/2-8
Smoking within 30 minutes of measurement 6-20/
Paralyzed arm 2-5/
Back unsupported 6-10/
Arm unsupported, sitting 1-7/5-11
Arm unsupported, standing 6-8/

¹Handler J, The Permanente Journal 2009; 13:3:51-54

Are there differences between taking a blood pressure reading on the right arm vs. left arm?

Blood pressure measurement values vary from the left arm to the right arm. The average is generally within 10 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) for most individuals. Omron home blood pressure monitors are generally designed for use on the left arm as they are validated through clinical studies using the left arm. You should talk to your doctor before using the right arm to take a measurement.

My doctor wants to compare the reading from my home BP monitor with the reading taken in the office. What are the instructions on how to do this?

When doing this type of a comparison, it is very important that the measurements are taken in a certain manner in order for the reading on the Omron monitor to be accurate. The Omron monitor uses oscillometric technology that measures the vibration of the blood as it moves through the arteries. The doctor is using a different method of measurement and listens to the sound of your heart. It is necessary for the doctor to take the first measurement using the Omron monitor. The brachial artery is fully open and not restricted so vibration of the blood is accurately measured. It is also important to note that the different test methods may give slightly different readings due to the test methods or due to the normal fluctuation in blood pressure.

Why is my wrist blood pressure monitor giving high readings?

The most common cause of high readings when using a wrist blood pressure monitor is because the user does not have the wrist monitor at heart level. When using a wrist monitor, pleas ensure the device is at heart level when taking a reading. Also note that there may be actual differences between your blood pressure at the upper arm site and the wrist site.

Information about Cuffs
What are the different styles of cuffs?

D-Ring Cuff: A d-ring cuff is a standard type of blood pressure cuff that you would usually see in your doctor’s office. It is a cuff where the user loops one end of the cuff through a metal ring, then fastens it to the arm. D-ring cuffs come in different sizes of small, standard and large. It is important to pick out the right size cuff based on your individual arm circumference. Please see the questions in this Omron FAQ regarding the different types of cuffs and how to measure your arm circumference.

Expandable Cuff: The Omron ComFit Cuff is a pre-formed upper arm cuff that expands to fit both regular and large sized arms (upper arm circumferences between 9 and 17 inches). It is designed to ensure more comfortable, accurate readings.

Wrist Cuff: A wrist cuff is similar to an upper arm cuff; however you can wrap it around your wrist instead of your upper arm.

Does the size of the cuff matter?

Yes, it is very important to use the appropriate size cuff for your arm in order to get accurate measurement results when using your home blood pressure monitor. If you use the wrong sized cuff, you will likely experience inaccurate readings, inconsistent readings and error messages from the device.

What size cuff do I need?

The correct size of cuff is based on the circumference of your upper arm, or your wrist, depending on which type of model you want. Omron monitors cover a variety of sizes as mentioned below:

D-Ring Upper Arm Cuff Sizing

  • Small adult cuff: fits upper arm with circumference between 7-9 inches
  • Standard adult cuff: fits upper arm with circumference between 9-13 inches
  • Large adult cuff: fits upper arm with circumference between 13 and 17 inches

ComFit Cuff Sizing

  • ComFit cuff: fits upper arm with circumference between 9-17 inches

Wrist Model Sizing

  • Wrist model: first wrists with circumference between 5¼-8½ inches.
How do I measure my arm circumference?

To determine your arm size, use a cloth tape measure and place midway between your elbow and your shoulder around the circumference of your upper arm. Wrap the tape measure evenly around your arm. Do not pull the tape tight. Note the precise measurement in inches. Determine which size cuff is best for you, then purchase a home blood pressure monitor with that size cuff included.

View a short video on selecting the right d-ring cuff.

How do I know if I have put on the arm cuff correctly?

We recommend you apply the cuff using the following directions. First, make sure you have removed any tight-fitting clothing from your left arm. Put your left arm through the cuff loop. The bottom of the cuff should be about one-half inch above your elbow. Turn your arm so your palm is facing up. Adjust the cuff around your arm so that the tubing runs down the center of your arm. Secure the cuff so it stays in place.

D-Ring Cuff: You should be able to fit one finger between the cuff and your arm. This space is imperative for an accurate reading because Omron’s digital blood pressure monitors use the oscillometric method of blood pressure measurement that detects your blood’s movement through your brachial artery and converts the movements into a digital reading.

View a short video on how to take a measurement using the Omron d-ring cuff.

ComFit Cuff: The cuff should be wrapped tightly around the arm. If the cuff slips or easily turns, the cuff should be tightened. If the cuff is wrapped too loose or too tight, you may get an inaccurate reading of error message. For more detailed directions, please refer to the instruction manual for the specific model.

View a short video on how to apply the Omron ComFit cuff.

 

 

 

How do I assemble and apply the d-ring cuff?

When the cuff is assembled correctly, the hook material will be on the outside of the cuff loop and the metal d-ring will not touch your skin. If the cuff is not assembled, pass the end of the cuff furthest from the tubing through the metal d-ring to form a loop. The smooth cloth should be on the inside of the cuff loop.

  1. Remove tight fitting clothing from your upper arm.
  2. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your left arm on a table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart. Turn the palm of your hand upward.
  3. Put your left arm through the cuff loop. the bottom of the cuff should be approximately ½ inch above the elbow. The cuff tab should lie over the brachial artery on the inside of the arm. The cuff tube should run down the center of the arm even with the middle finger.
  4. Secure the cuff around your arm using the cloth closure. Pull the cuff so that the top and bottom edges are tightened evenly around your arm.
  5. Make sure the cuff is wrapped firmly in place. You should be able to fit your index finger between the cuff and your arm easily.
  6. Relax your arm and place your elbow on the table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
  7. Be sure there are no kinks in the air tubing.

View a short video on how to take a measurement using the Omron d-ring cuff.

How do I apply the pre-formed ComFit cuff?
  1. Remove tight fitting clothing from your upper arm.
  2. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your left arm on a table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart. Turn the palm of your hand upward.
  3. Hold the cloth closure on the cuff with your other hand.
  4. Turn the palm of your hand upward. Apply the cuff on your upper arm.
  5. Align the marker on the cuff over the brachial artery on the inside of your arm.
  6. The cuff tube should run down the center of the arm even with the middle finger.
  7. The bottom of the cuff should be approximately ½-1 inch above the elbow.
  8. Secure the cuff around your arm using the cloth closure.
  9. Make sure the cuff is wrapped firmly in place.
  10. Relax your arm and place your elbow on the table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart.

View a short video on how to apply the Omron ComFit cuff.

Are Omron blood pressure monitors and cuffs latex free?

Yes, Omron home blood pressure monitors are latex-free. This includes the monitor, the cuffs and the AC adapter (if included).

Using Your Omron Home Blood Pressure Monitor
I am struggling with using my new Omron blood pressure monitor. Should I return it to the store?

No, DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE STORE. Usually, initial difficulties with a medical device like a blood pressure monitor can be easily resolved with assistance. Please contact our consumer support at 877/216-1333 or e-mail your questions here. Our representatives are trained to assist you.

How do I know if I am using the correct cuff?

To get accurate readings, and to avoid error messages, it is very important that you are using the correct size cuff and it is correctly applied to your arm. Please see the FAQ — Information on Cuffs section. There is a variety of information available specific to cuffs.

How do I set the date and time on my new Omron blood pressure monitor?

The precise instructions on setting the date and time on Omron blood pressure monitors can vary by model. Please view the instruction manual or getting started guide that came with the unit. You can also located electronic instruction manuals in our Product Support & Solutions Center.

I keep getting error messages when I try to take a reading. What should I do?

In the instruction manual that came with the unit, there is a section included on on the different types of error messages. Please review this section of the manual. You can locate electronic instruction manuals in our Product Support & Solutions Center.

If this does not fully resolve the issue, please contact the Omron consumer support line at 877/216-1333 or e-mail us your question.

Why can't I get a reading from my Omron wrist blood pressure monitor with A.P.S.?

The most common cause of this situation is due to the user not having the unit at heart level. For an Omron wrist blood pressure monitor with A.P.S. technology, please follow the below instructions.

To turn the unit on and take a measurement, press START/STOP button once. The monitor will start beeping. Holding left elbow and arm against body, elevate cuffed wrist to heart level (as shown). The monitor will beep faster as you get closer to the Heart Zone. Four slow beeps will sound when in the correct position.

Please note: cuff will not begin inflating until correct position is reached. This is to ensure that you get an accurate reading.

Hold still until cuff deflates and results are displayed. Press START/STOP to turn off the monitor.

View a short video on how to use the Omron wrist monitor with A.P.S. technology.

Why can't I get a reading from my Omron wrist blood pressure monitor with Heart Guide Technology?

The most common cause of this situation is due to the user not having the unit at heart level. Please follow the below directions.

  1. Hold your arm across your chest at arm level.
  2. Hold your elbow firmly to avoid body movement.
  3. Press START/STOP button. All symbols will appear on the display.
  4. When arm is in correct position blue light will turn on and cuff will inflate automatically. As the cuff inflates. the monitor automatically determines inflation level. This monitor detects your blood pressure and pulse rate during inflation. The Heartbeat Symbol flashes at every heartbeat.
  5. Remain still and do not move until the entire measurement process is complete.
Where do I get more information regarding the software for my unit?

For information on software, please visit the Omron Connected Health Center.

How do I delete the stored data in my unit?

The process for deleting the stored data is unique to your model. Please check your instruction manual. Electronic versions of the instruction manuals can be found in the Omron Product Support & Solutions Center.

Is it necessary to have the batteries installed in the monitor when using the AC adapter?

No, the monitor will work on AC power without having the batteries installed in the device.

Can I take a blood pressure reading measurement during exercise?

Omron blood pressure monitors are NOT intended for use during exercise or activity. We recommend that you avoid eating, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking, bathing and exercising for at least 30 minutes before taking a measurement. It is also best to rest for 15 minutes before starting the measurement.

Other Questions Related to Omron Home Blood Pressure Monitors
What is the warranty on an Omron home blood pressure monitor?

The warranty period depends on which Omron model you purchase or own. Warranty periods on the monitor itself (not including cuff) are generally anywhere from 1-5 years, and are based on the life expectancy of the unit. Most cuffs or other accessories are generally 1 year. Please check the instruction manual for your specific unit. Electronic versions of the instruction manuals can be found in the Omron Product Support & Solutions Center.

What is the warranty for the cuff on my blood pressure monitor?

For most models, the warranty coverage for the arm or wrist cuff is one year. Cuffs will need to be periodically replaced throughout the life of the monitor. When purchasing a replacement cuff for an upper arm unit, please be certain to measure the circumference of your arm to purchase the correct cuff size. Please check the instruction manual for your specific unit. Electronic versions of the instruction manuals can be found in the Omron Product Support & Solutions Center.

Can I file an insurance claim for the purchase of my blood pressure monitor?

Because insurance plans vary widely, you should contact your individual insurance company to determine what level the purchase of a home blood pressure monitor would be covered.

Are Omron blood pressure monitors FDA approved?

Omron home blood pressure monitors are required to go through a FDA inspection and clearance process (known as 510(k)) prior to marketing.

I misplaced my instruction manual. How can I get a new one?

Electronic versions of the instruction manuals can be found in the Omron Product Support & Solutions Center.

How do I get my monitor repaired?

You need to contact our consumer support line at 877/216-1333. The representative will discuss the situation with you, and help determine if you need to send it in for inspection.

Where do I purchase accessories for my Omron blood pressure monitor?

If you know the accessory you need or want, you can purchase via the Omron Webstore. If you are not fully sure what accessory you need, please contact our consumer support line at 877/216-1333, and they can assist you. They also can place the order for you during the same call.

How do I register my new Omron home blood pressure monitor?

You can register online. If you do not have access to a computer, please contact our consumer support line at 877/216-1333 and they can assist you.