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41 PRACTICAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT HYPERTENSION AND HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMIA - 2008

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  • On the market there are mercury, mechanical or aneroid (like a clock with a revolving indicator needle) and electronic devices (figure 3).
  • Even though the mercury devices are considered as the gold standard for blood pressure monitoring at home, the use of a simple mechanical or an electronic device is acceptable, on the condition that their reliability has been checked.
  • Automated electronic sphygmomanometers are preferred, because very little instruction is required for their use and the measurements are performed objectively.
  • There are many electronic devices but very few of them are reliable (table 1).
  • The devices that measure blood pressure at the arm are preferable. The devices that measure pressure at the wrist or finger are less reliable and are not recommended.
  • If a sphygmomanometer with a stethoscope is going to be used, a careful instruction on the technique of blood pressure measurement must be given to the patient in advance. (see "What is the correct method for blood pressure measurement?").
  • Information for the reliable sphygmomanometer can be found on the web at the address www.dableducational.org or www.hypertension.gr.
  • The functional state of the sphygmomanometer must be checked once every year and not only in the case of trouble.
  • Irrespective of the kind of sphygmomanometer, the dimension of the cuff must fit your arm perfectly. For many people who have a large arm (arm circumference of 30 cm or more) the standard cuffs are too small. As a result, the sphygmomanometer will show a false higher pressure than the actual one. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist which cuff you need.

WRITING GROUP
G. Stergiou, Chairman
A. Achimastos
E. Andreadis
I. Avramopoulos
M. Elissaf
N. Karatzas
T. Mountokalakis
D. Papadogiannis
K. Siamopoulos
E. Varsamis
K. Vemmos
D. Vlahakos