Staying Healthy

Is your home blood pressure monitor accurate?

Here's how to tell and what to do if the device might be wrong.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

photo of a blood pressure meter and the arm cuff used to measure it

An inexpensive, easy-to-use blood pressure monitor that you use at home is a powerful tool to protect your health. It can help you see if your blood pressure is under control and how it responds to new medications or exercise. It may even provide a more realistic picture of your blood pressure than measurements taken in a doctor's office, which can vary for many reasons. But home monitoring can have problems, too — namely, the equipment.

In a letter published May 2, 2023, in JAMA, an international team of researchers reported findings indicating that the vast majority of top-selling blood pressure monitors sold on a popular website are not validated for accuracy. And using a nonvalidated device might threaten your health.

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About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
View all posts by Heidi Godman

About the Reviewer

photo of Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff is the Steven P. Simcox/Patrick A. Clifford/James H. Higby Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and editor in chief of the Harvard … See Full Bio
View all posts by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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