Q: What is an ambulatory blood pressure monitor?
A: An ambulatory blood pressure machine, also called ausculatory monitor, uses a stethoscope to read the level of blood pressure together with a sphygmomanometer. It comes with an inflatable cuff that is adjustable to fit any size of upper arm where it would be placed. It is attached to a mercury or an aneroid manometer.

Q: How do you use it effectively?
A: The cuff needs to be inflated manually while you listen with a stethoscope which round piece is placed on the inside of the elbow. The pressure in the cuff should be released slowly when using ambulatory blood pressure monitor so you can make an accurate reading. It takes a lot of practice to be an accurate reader. Some experienced nurses still falter at reading ambulatory monitors.

Q: Is it better to own a monitor at home than to have my bp checked in a hospital or clinic?
A: A lot of people are getting their own ambulatory bp monitors for home use so they can keep track of the changes in their health and which factors are triggering their hypertension. If you know how to read accurately, then it can be better to own one so you don’t encounter any false readings done by inexperienced readers. In fact, there have been reports saying people feel more comfortable taking their own reading and that chances of hypertension associated with panic attacks and the anxiety of a reading result have significantly decreased.

Q: What do I have to consider before buying ambulatory BP monitors?
A: A lot of things have to be considered before switching to self-reading of blood pressure. Make sure you make an informed purchase by doing a thorough research first. Learn how to accurately read as a single false reading may compromise your health. You also need to know if there are other people you can turn to for second opinion should you doubt your own reading skill. Ask around or find a friend who has been using the monitor for years. If you are hard of hearing or are amputated and can only use one arm, then you can perhaps ask a neighbor to help you out with your daily regular monitoring.

Q: Which is most accurate, an ambulatory or a digital monitor?
A: Both can be accurate if only correctly used. However, most people prefer a digital blood pressure machine for accuracy since reading an ambulatory monitor depends on one’s hearing ability and undivided attention.