Tips to make scales and healthcare monitors last

July 29, 2015

Aside from bathroom scales, the most common home healthcare devices are blood pressure and blood sugar monitors. Here are a few pointers to keep them in shape.

Tips to make scales and healthcare monitors last

Don’t overload your scale

To keep your bathroom scale from wearing out, don't exceed 80 per cent of capacity. (This is a more effective safeguard than the recommended 90 per cent limit made by most manufacturers.)

Weigh yourself less often

  • Weighing yourself once or twice every day could wear out a scale before its time. Experts recommend that you weigh yourself once or twice a week.
  • To ensure accuracy, make sure the scale is on a hard, flat surface, and stand as still as possible.
  • Always weigh yourself on the same scale and under the same conditions (i.e., naked, before breakfast in the morning).

Keep your blood pressure monitor away from heat

If you have a home blood pressure monitor, one way to extend its life is to keep the unit away from excess heat, which can cause the rubber tubing that goes between the cuff and the monitor to crack.

Check batteries on blood sugar monitors

  • When you select a blood sugar monitor, the batteries used are important. Some units use standard batteries, while others take less common (and often pricier) batteries that may be harder to find.
  • Still, others don't have replaceable batteries at all, so you have to buy a new meter when the batteries fail.
  • These batteries will last for thousands of readings, but if you test frequently, the thousands can add up more quickly than you expect.

Blood sugar test strips

  • The real cost of using a blood sugar monitor is in the test strips. You can buy them in bulk and lower the cost per strip.
  • But using strips past their expiration date can give you inaccurate readings, so always consider how often you use them before you buy bulk.
  • If you end up having to throw out some unused strips because they've expired, it may be more cost-effective to buy them individually.

Kinds of scales

How much you spend on a scale should depend on how long you want it to remain accurate.

Spring mechanism: An inexpensive scale with a spring mechanism can decorate your bathroom for a decade or more, but it will not remain accurate for anywhere near that long, because the springs will ultimately stretch. Nor will a "digital lithium" scale necessarily be more accurate than an old-fashioned mechanical scale; it just has a fancier display.

Load-cell mechanism: The most accurate scales use a load-cell mechanism rather than springs to take the weight. If you have a health condition that requires a reliable and accurate measurement, consider buying a professional digital scale that uses load-cell technology. It will cost several times more than the others, but it will stay accurate much longer.

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