Every time I go to the GP’s, regardless what it’s for, I always slink off to the corner of the corridor and check my blood pressure. They have a machine where you insert your arm and after inflating and deflating, it spits out a small piece of paper with your readings on it. I also remember as a child being so fascinated by my father’s sphygmomanometer, so much so that when it was time to choose an A-Level Biology research paper, I decided to look at the relation between blood pressure and angle of the body (I basically really wanted to use a tilt table!). Recently, I was gifted a Kinetik Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor X2 Comfort so now I can keep a check on my blood pressure from home.
As a general rule, I have fairly low blood pressure, so have never been too worried about it, but it interests me to keep a check on it. Getting your blood pressure checked regularly can help you spot the warning signs for future heart health problems. The UK’s biggest killer used to be heart disease (it was overtaken in 2017 by dementia) with 66,076 people dying from it in 2016. High blood pressure can also be a warning sign for heart attacks, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, heart disease and even vascular dementia. Especially if you’re pregnant, you’ll know they ALWAYS check your blood pressure at every appointment for potential pre-eclampsia.
The Kinetik Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor X2 Comfort only took a few minutes to set up (finding batteries took the longest), and was easy to use. Although I tried it on my husband first and we kept getting an error message which I put down down to his arm being too large for the cuff (or as he said, ‘It’s the guns! The guns are getting in the way!’ – for reference, my husband keeps fit but isn’t overly bulky in the arms department). It worked perfectly for myself, however. I took my blood pressure several times and each time, readings were similar, until we got to the last one when my husband got impatient and narky to get back to work and then it went up a little! Good to know that I’m so easily affected by stressful situations…
One thing I was worried about with a home blood pressure machine was accuracy. However, it’s a Class IIa Medical Device and compliant with European medical device regulations so I’m somewhat reassured. There can obviously be some inaccuracy down to user handling but the device handles this well, reporting an error message if the cuff doesn’t fit properly or is improperly placed. You can also include up to 3 users on it which will save the last 60 readings for each user. This would be especially useful for those who want to track their blood pressure levels over time. And apparently it can detect an irregular heartbeat too.
Understanding blood pressure measurements
Blood pressure is the measure of force which occurs in the heart to pump blood round your body. A reading consists of two numbers and it’s normally given as XXmmHg over XXmmHG (millimetres of mercury). The first number (the high number) is the systolic numbers and refers to the force used when the heart pushes blood out. The second number, the diastolic, is the pressure in the heart when it ‘rests’ between beats. A healthy blood pressure measurement is generally between 90/6 and 120/80. A number higher than 140/90 is considered high blood pressure.
At £34.99, I think the Kinetik Blood Pressure Monitor is well-priced. It’s especially useful for those who are concerned about their blood pressure or have a history of high blood pressure in the family. At the very least, it can provide reassurance. I think that this piece of equipment is a reasonable staple to have in the house, especially for those who lead a lifestyle which is conducive to high blood pressure; I have a friend who’s in his mid-thirties who has been told to keep an eye on his blood pressure (he lives a rather hedonistic and lively life), and know a lot of friends’ parents who are on medication to lower blood pressure (one in particular refuses to change his diet or sedentary lifestyle) so has to have regular checks at the doctor. Monitor such as this are fantastic in allowing people to take responsibility for their health, or for those who are curious about their health levels.