Should I Use a Digital Barometer to Calibrate My Blood Pressure Monitor?

Q: I would like to calibrate my blood pressure monitor.   Is it a good idea to use a digital barometer for doing this?  I would then correct the readings given by the monitor, against the readings given by the barometer.  I live at the 1200 foot level even though most of Portland, Oregon, is 65 feet above sea level.  The barometric pressure changes once or twice a day.

A: Barometric pressure changes daily no matter where you live.  Studies have shown that barometric pressure influences blood pressure. More people die from heart disease in the winter.  Some studies suggest this may be related to the drop in atmospheric pressure. Keep in mind blood pressure measurements are relative.  From a practical point of view the best way to calibrate your monitor is to take it in to your doctor’s office.  Have the nurse take reading with your machine and compare the results with your doctor’s.

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