by Anura Guruge
The Lifesource UB351 is a joy to use, amazingly accurate and at its sale price of $17 (at HRM USA) an absolute steal. At that giveaway price it has to be the best $17 you will ever spend in that this gem of a unit can prolong your life, if not save it. I have had one now for a few months and for the first time in my life I am actually enjoying having my blood pressure taken!
It is very accurate. I took it with me to my annual physical and the nurse and I did three readings. In each instance we were with ‘5’ of each other; ‘121’ to ‘118’, ‘69’ to ‘73’ etc. Given that the readings were not taken simultaneously these results were well within normal tolerances. The nurse was impressed and urged me to use it, often. And I do.
I am no stranger to automatic blood pressure monitors. Over the decades I have owned four or five ‘high-end’ upper-arm units – a couple with built-in printers and a calibration capability. The LifeSource UB351, however, is in a different league altogether both in terms of accuracy and ease-of-use. None of my prior units, and yes, of course, they had older technology, were never this accurate and reliable
If you have hypertension concerns you no doubt have heard of the ‘white coat syndrome’ (or even ‘white coat hypertension’). This is where your blood pressure readings could be 10, 20 or more ‘points’ higher because you are stressed about having your blood pressure taken. The ‘white coat’ signifying a doctor or a nurse. In my experience you can have even worse ‘white coat syndrome’ when using an automated unit at home. You are worried as to what it is going to say. Then to compound matters the unit makes an ominous ‘clicking’ noise as it inflates and, even if you can set limits, the cuff is invariably over inflated to the point of pain. So, by the time the readings are taken you are inordinately stressed and the readings reflect that. Now you worry more. Taking another reading only worsens matters. Well, the good news. The LifeSource is much kinder to your arm and senses. It is what you would call user-friendly.
Using the LifeSource is easy. There is already a rigid, semi-formed cuff built-in. So, slipping it on is just like putting on an adjustable bracelet. No hassle. It just slips on. Then you tighten the Velcro and you are good to go. While it does ‘chug’ while inflating the sound is not too overpowering – and it does not try to cut off your circulation.
I am delighted that I got this unit. I get e-mail notifications from HRM USA and this unit was a featured item a few months ago. I think it was $19 at the time. So, here is the funny thing. Just that week I had accompanied someone to a very fancy medical facility and had noticed that they were using wrist-based units, exclusively. I asked a nurse about it. She said that they were accurate, easy-to-use and fast – making it better for both sides. I do not think they were LifeSource units, but the timing could not have been any better. I am, as you can probably tell, quite impressed with this purchase. I could not have hoped for better.
The instructions that come with the unit are good, though I wish they had opted for a larger booklet with bigger fonts. But, it is not a showstopper. They are very precise and tell you, exactly, how you should have your arm, level with your heart etc. I wear a Garmin Fenix 5 (also from HRM USA) 24x7 on my left wrist – the same wrist that LifeSource recommends for their readings. I have found that the LifeSource fits in, nicely, next to my Garmin. Not having to take off the Garmin was another bonus. It also lets me compare the heart rate readings – just by twisting my wrist and the end of the ‘test’. The heart rate readings, always, are more or less identical. Another datapoint that the LifeSource seems to be doing everything right.
Not much more I can say. I have no complaints. I think of it as the best $20 I have ever spent. I used to dread having my pressure taken. This little unit changed that – and for that alone, I am thankful. I am sure you will like it too.