Many devices for measuring blood pressure cannot convince
There is hardly a disease that is as widespread as high blood pressure. According to the Robert Koch Institute, almost every third person in Germany suffers from hypertension. Hypertension is the biggest risk factor for developing heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for most deaths. Accordingly, there is also a large market for blood pressure monitors. However, as a large test recently showed, most of them cannot inspire. We have summarized what you should pay attention to when buying!
The Stiftung Warentest recently published its test results from 14 known devices for measuring blood pressure. Since these devices make an important contribution to monitoring blood pressure and thus to monitoring the risk of myocardial infarction, one should think that the measuring devices are of a particularly high quality. Unfortunately, as Stiftung Warentest shows, this is not the case. Only one out of 14 devices was rated "good".
How reliable are common blood pressure monitors?
Blood pressure monitors are used in many households and users rely on the measurement results. Right? Stiftung Warentest says no. The foundation tested 14 devices in the price segment between 15 and 80 euros. Eight devices measure blood pressure on the upper arm and six on the wrist. Overall, only one device was found to be good.
Lack of measurement accuracy
In terms of measuring accuracy in particular, many devices were unable to deliver the desired accuracy. In contrast, most measuring devices performed well in terms of operation. This ensures, at least for many devices, that they can be used correctly without medical help.
What do the high blood pressure values say?
In order to avoid errors in blood pressure measurement, it is important to know what the measurement results mean. These are always made up of two numbers, the systolic value and the diastolic value. The systolic value is the pressure that prevails when the heart muscle contracts and thus presses the blood through the veins. At this point the pressure is at its highest. In contrast, the diastolic value indicates the blood pressure that prevails in the arteries during the relaxation phase of the heart. Both values are given in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The following overview provides information on what the measured values mean:
- low blood pressure: 105 to 119 mmHG systolic; 60 to 79 mmHG diastolic
- normal blood pressure: 120 to 129 mmHG systolic; 80 to 84 mmHG diastolic
- Border area: 130 to 139 mmHG systolic; 85 to 89 mmHG diastolic
- mild high blood pressure: 140 to 159 mmHG systolic; 90 to 99 mmHG diastolic
- moderate hypertension: 160 to 179 mmHG systolic; 100 to 109 mmHG diastolic
- severe high blood pressure: over 180 mmHG systolic; over 110 mmHG diastolic
The test winner cannot fully convince either
The "ExactFit 5" device from Braun performed best in the test. This is commercially available for around 65 euros. It was the only measuring device to receive the test grade “good” (2.5). However, there were slight deviations in the measurement accuracy. With deviations of up to 7.5 mmHG, these were classified as satisfactory. Stiftung Warentest therefore also recommends the test winners from 2016: the "Omron RS2" wrist measuring device for around 26 euros and "Boso Medistar +" for around 25 euros.
The German High Pressure League comments on the test results
The German Hypertension League issues its own test seal for blood pressure monitors and commented on the test results of the Stiftung Warentest in a press release. In contrast to Stiftung Warentest, the German High Pressure League only values the measurement accuracy of the devices, as this is the most relevant criterion. Stiftung Warentest also evaluated the user guidance and the processing of the measuring devices. In this way, a measuring device was able to achieve first place, although it has slight defects in measuring accuracy.
The focus here is on measuring accuracy
The German Hypertension League emphasizes that its results are not comparable to those of Stiftung Warentest. The league tests blood pressure monitors at the request of the device manufacturers and awards a test seal based on the criterion of measurement accuracy. The tests would be carried out by independent testing institutes, which are not named to the client. In this list of the German High Pressure League you will find the devices that have been awarded a seal for reliable measurement accuracy. (vb)