How Smartwatches measures Blood Pressure?

According to CDC, more than 45% of American adults suffering from blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, etc. As a result, it is also known as “Silent Killer.” So, it is essential to detect, treat and control blood pressure at the earliest.

How Smartwatches measures Blood Pressure

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Smartwatches come with many advanced health tracking features, from heart rate monitoring to ECG. However, when it comes to blood pressure monitoring, only a limited number of watches are available in the market that measures B.P. 

Blood pressure monitoring technology is complex. Essentially, B.P checking requires a B.P cuff to stop the blood circulation to a local artery and gradually release the pressure to measure the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Because of its complexity, integrating this method into a tiny device like a smartwatch or fitness tracker is not easy. Then how the smartwatches with blood pressure monitoring work?

In this article, let us check the technology behind blood pressure monitoring smartwatches.

How Smartwatches Measures Blood Pressure? 

Instead of using a B.P cuff, B.P monitoring watches like Samsung uses optical heart rate sensors to measure Blood pressure. These sensors sit near the skin and closely monitor the blood flow without obstructing the blood flow to the arteries. 

Here are some of the blood pressure monitoring techniques used in wearable technology devices.

Pulse wave analysis: Pulse wave analysis is a method used to estimate blood pressure with the help of an optical sensor. Popular blood pressure smartwatches like Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 uses this method. 

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However, these devices require you to calibrate the watch with a cuff-based blood pressure device to ensure the accuracy of the readings.

Pulse Arrival Time (PAT):  As the name suggests, smartwatches measure the pulse travelling time from the heart to the wrist in this method. The pulse travelling time will be high during high blood pressure.  

As per the latest report, the Fitbit lab works on this method and successfully finds a correlation between blood pressure and PAT.  

PAT based blood pressure monitoring smartwatches have many advantages over other wearable devices. Like other smartwatches, it does not require a B.P cuff. Also, the PAT method does not require frequent calibration.

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B.P Cuff Method: The Omron Heart Guide smartwatch uses a B.P cuff on the strap that inflates and deflates while measuring the blood pressure. It is the first, and only FDA approved smartwatch currently available in the market today. Unfortunately, it offers some basic activity and health tracking features only. However, if your primary focus is blood pressure monitoring, you can go with this smartwatch. 

Which is the Best Smartwatch with Blood Pressure? 

As of now, there are limited numbers of smartwatches and fitness trackers that comes with blood pressure monitoring feature. As mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 are health-tracking smartwatches with many advanced health monitoring features along with ECG, SpO2, B.P, etc. 

However, the blood pressure monitoring feature in Samsung wearables is not available in every country. Luckily, the B.P monitoring feature is available in the USA and Canada. For the complete list of supported countries, check here

If you are looking for a smartwatch to keep an eye on your blood pressure, check our list of the best smartwatches with blood pressure monitor and heart rate.

How to take blood pressure with a smartwatch?

Here are the some tips to meausure blood pressure accurately.

  1. Wear Smartwatch: When you wear a smartwatch, it should not be too tight or lose.
  2. Sit calm on a calm and quite environment
  3. Do not check B.P immediately after a workout.

Do Apple Watch Measure Blood Pressure?

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Apple Smartwatches do not measure blood pressure. However, it comes with many other health monitoring features such as ECG, irregular heart rate detection, fall detection, SpO2(in Series). 

According to a new report, Apple has secured a patent for scuff-free blood pressure monitoring. Along with non-invasive blood sugar monitoring, it is also expected to come with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7.  

Conclusion 

In 2020, blood oxygen level monitoring, ECG, etc., integrated into many smartwatches and fitness trackers. In 2021, wearable technology device manufacturers are developing technology to measure cuff-free blood pressure monitoring devices. This will help the uses to detect the signs of increased blood pressure at the earliest, and thus they can control the B.P in the right way.  

Saneesh VS is a Registered Nurse by Profession and Wearable Tech Enthusiast by Passion. He loves to write about fitness, smartwatches, and fitness trackers. He also loves reading books on wearable tech, technology in healthcare, artificial intelligence etc., which he has been writing for the past 5 years.

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