High blood pressure is costing the U.S. a whopping $131 billion annually. Around 45% of American adults have very high uncontrolled blood pressure. To avoid the possibility of health complications, like heart attack, failure, or weakened blood vessels in the kidneys, people need regular blood pressure measurements.
A standard method of detecting hypertension is by using a sphygmomanometer – a blood pressure monitor cuff. But, recently more and more patients have been opting for a smartwatch instead. Here, we will take a closer look at using a watch blood pressure monitoring tool, and whether it can be used as a practical BP measurement device.
The Issues With Regular BP Monitoring
People should measure their BP two times a day. Ideally, in the morning right before grabbing a bite to eat or taking meds. The second measurement comes in the evening. Every time a patient measures their BP, they should take 2 to 3 readings just to make sure they are correct.
Unfortunately, a recent survey showed that people are not measuring their BP as much as they should. Even if they regularly struggle with hypertension. About 62% of respondents measure their BP a couple of times a month, to a few times a year.
This most likely happens because they are either too busy or don’t have a device of choice. But, those who have a practical tool at hand, have better odds at recording regular BP measurements. That’s where a watch blood pressure monitoring device comes into play.
Smart Watches for Blood Pressure Measurement
Many tech companies have created watches and fitness trackers capable of tracking BP measurements. They are ideal for the on-the-go and are a favorite for people who want to monitor their sleeping patterns.
Users also have access to wrist blood pressure monitors that look nothing like watches. They are bigger and meant for at-home use. Based on reports from the AHA (American Heart Association) cuff-style BP monitors used on the upper arm are more accurate than wrist monitors.
The reason for that is relatively simple. When a person tries to take a BP reading, the monitor should be at a heart level, with a resting upper arm. Certain watches do come with instructions that users maintain their wrists on their hearts for better readings. Those who follow the instructions could obtain more accurate results.
A lot of renowned smartwatch brands feature adequate heart-monitoring sensors. When it comes to any Apple Watch, users get access to sleep tracking, noise alerts, fall detection, and heart monitoring. An apple watch blood pressure device can keep track of the BP only with a connected and medically validated BP monitor.
A blood pressure device that’s been approved by the FDA is most likely to provide correct readings. But, for optimal functionality, it might be best to choose Series 4 or newer. The latest smartwatches use optical sensors, which may add an additional level of accuracy. Although you can’t use Apple Watch blood pressure monitoring as a medical device, you can still obtain some valuable readings.
Other popular smartwatches are options like the Garmin. This product offers multiple features that can help users keep a close look at their heart rates. Offering many advanced features, this comfortable watch can evaluate a person’s training status and help people amplify their fitness routine.
It gives the wearer the option to tap into plenty of data with a compatible heart rate strap. It provides advanced characteristics such as the HRV (heart rate variability) stress test and lactate threshold. All of which can prove useful when monitoring overall health.
Pros of Smart Watches for Blood Pressure
Smartwatches have many uses for overall health. They can be a practical method of monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, sleep, oxygen level, etc. They can send texts or notifications when there is a drastic change in your health state, allowing the user to rest with ease.
One of the biggest advantages of a blood pressure monitoring watch is that people become actively aware of their BP values. They can obtain a general perspective of how their health changes. Providing them with information that could enhance their well-being.
People also have the freedom to use the devices whenever they like. These devices are lightweight, practical, and convenient for any age. Most importantly, smartwatches don’t have a long learning curve. Meaning that anyone can get used to them quickly.
This level of practicality can motivate people to take control of their blood pressure and analyze their health state. Those who struggle with regular BP fluctuations may find these devices useful.
Cons of Smart Watches for Blood Pressure
Overall, smartwatches are here to aid with frequent BP monitoring. But, when it comes to accuracy and precision, smartwatches are not accurate enough to be used as the only BP measurement tool. Research indicates that typical cuff-based measurements are more useful for getting accurate readings.
Those who do use smartwatches should consult with a healthcare expert if their readings seem to be out of sync. The doctor may then suggest another reading just to make sure that the results were relevant.
Of course, every model is different and uses various features. Probably the biggest drawback for some users is that the smartwatch can require frequent software updates. They come at a hefty price, especially those made by famous brands. With a possibility of short battery life.
That’s why it is important to take both the pros and cons into account when deciding which blood pressure monitoring method to use. The information listed here can give you a general overview of what to expect.