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4 medical devices that help you stay healthy

Thermometers, blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters, and bathroom scales

Published: March 03, 2014 12:00 PM

The following medical devices can warn you of health dangers, offer reassurance, and help you monitor chronic conditions that vary from day to day. Here’s a roundup of top health products, from Consumer Reports' expert testing.

Thermometers

The Vicks V977

Fever thermometers should be easy to use and comfortable for kids. That’s why our recent tests of fever thermometers measured accuracy and included comments from children about their comfort level with each model. The Vicks V977 is a Consumer Reports Best Buy. The Exergen TemporalScanner TAT-2000C is recommended.  

Blood pressure monitors

The Omron 10 Series BP785

They’re essential for people with hypertension because blood pressure can vary throughout the day. That’s why frequent self-testing reveals far more about your blood pressure than occasional readings at your doctor’s office. In fact, between 30 percent and 40 percent of people with high blood pressure have ‘‘white-coat hypertension,’’ or elevated levels when health care professionals test them but not when they check themselves at home. Conversely, 5 percent of people who have normal pressure at the doctor’s office have higher “pre-hypertension,” or borderline levels, at home, a condition called “masked hypertension,” according to a recent study in PLoS Medicine.

Either way, home blood pressure monitors help patients and physicians decipher what’s really happening so they can weigh the best treatment options, from lifestyle changes to drug treatment. In our tests, the CVS Premium BP3MV1-3WCVS is a CR Best Buy. The Omron 10 Series BP785 is Recommended.

Blood glucose meters

The Accu-Chek Aviva


Monitoring your blood sugar levels can be particularly important for people taking insulin or diabetes medication, anyone having difficulty controlling their diabetes, and women with gestational diabetes. Blood glucose meters can help you adjust your diet, exercise routine, and treatment plan as sugar levels fluctuate. Those steps can help lower the risk of complications from diabetes including seizures, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage. The models we tested were smaller, faster, and loaded with more features than ever before. In our tests, the Accu-Chek Aviva is Recommended. The Up & Up Blood Glucose meter is a CR Best Buy.

Scales

The Taylor 7506

How much do you weigh? An honest answer demands an accurate bathroom scale. We tested 9 digital, and 2 analog models. All could handle a maximum weight of at least 300 pounds. In our tests, the Taylor 7506 is Recommended.

—Doug Podolsky

   

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