In this article we will try to cover blood pressure monitor built inside a wearable device such as smart watches or fitness bands. In a previous post, we had discussed in detail about different types of blood pressure monitors available in the Indian online market. Read here on various types of BP monitors available for home use.
Do you need to use blood pressure monitor at home ?
High blood pressure (High BP), also known as hypertension, has been known to be a silent killer. It can cause many heart ailments, including heart attack. High BP also damages vital organs of body such as kidneys. It is therefore important for you to be alert to this disease, every now and then.
As per studies, one in every three Indians is known to suffer from hypertension. However, many people suffering from high blood pressure problems are unaware of it ! Many think that hypertension or High BP is normally associated with older people only. However this notion of yours may be grossly wrong! Read our detailed article here on high blood pressure problem and how to tackle it.
Due to this, more and more doctors are nowadays recommending people to take measurements at home to check for high blood pressure. Therefore, it can help you immensely if you are having a home use BP monitor. This can provide you a regular and accurate picture of your BP than infrequent readings in doctor’s chamber.
In case you have decided to buy a BP monitor, we have the following selection for you to check out (these have been picked by our team based on brand reputation, ease of use, durability and user reviews/ popularity).
What are the various types of blood pressure monitors?
Traditionally there have been two types of BP monitors, depending upon as to how cuff is inflated – Aneroid or Digital. Further, digital BP monitors are of three types, depending upon the cuff type which is used. These are mainly Arm Type, Wrist Type and Finger Type. These cuffs are wrapped around the respective body areas and pressure is created by manually or automatically inflating the cuff and measured on the arteries situated in areas.
Which type of blood pressure monitor is considered good for use at home?
The most popular and acceptable home use BP monitor is the upper arm cuff type digital BP monitor. This device allows you to follow instructions properly and place your arm at heart level. You can sit in a chair & desk at home and take accurate readings.
On the other hand, the above method of taking reading is difficult to do with a wrist type cuff BP monitor, though possible. Many people fail to follow the above method strictly or simply forget to do so. This can lead you to erroneous readings.
American Heart Association (USA) too recommends using Upper Arm Cuff type home blood pressure monitor. As per their studies, people using wrist type blood pressure monitors are prone to taking incorrect measurements. Most people are not able to place the cuff at the heart level all the time. They take readings placing their wrists in their laps or on a lower table or armrest.
If placed lower than heart level, readings will be higher and if higher than heart level, BP readings will be lower.
However some people need wrist type BP monitors
Some people are so obese that an arm cuff cannot be properly wrapped around. In this case wrist type is used. They are also used on women who have undergone breast cancer surgery. If you are not any of these, you should use a standard upper arm cuff type monitor.
Experts say that the key to using a wrist type monitor and getting accurate readings is to properly follow instructions, whkch include placing the wrist at heart level, while measuring blood pressure. However, you may find this difficult at times as explained above.
But cuff type BP monitors can be cumbersome at times
Until recently, the only way to do continuous BP monitoring has been with an inflatable cuff for the arm or wrist. However this can be very inconvenient and unwieldy for certain types of uses.
For instance, you may need to measure your blood pressure throughout the day or night while sleeping. Then carrying such arm type or even wrist type BP monitors, with cumbersome cuffs is definitely not a good idea.
However, continuous BP monitoring is required if you have regular hypertension and / or if you are continuously on the move. Or maybe, you would still like to measure while sleeping at night. Also, while doing your sports activities on the field (and not at home), you may want to measure your BP (blood pressure) often.
In such situations, you would wish to have a wearable smartwatch or fitness band which can do it for you. This is where the latest wearable smart watch monitoring also blood pressure comes in handy and useful.
What is a Smart Watch Blood Pressure Monitor?
Recent technological advancements have given us a convenient choice in the form of a smart watch or fitness band. Nowadays they have the capability to take blood pressure as well, apart from heart rate, blood oxygen and usual activity tracking and notifications.
However, unlike standard blood pressure monitor or device, these gadgets usually rely on a sensor that rests against an artery in the wrist. This sensor detects essentially shape of the pressure wave as blood flows through it. From these pressure waves, diastolic and systolic pressure blood pressures are calculated by means of its built-in algorithm. The device is usually calibrated with a standard blood pressure monitor.
The technology to monitor blood pressure on a continuous basis packed inside a wearable smart watch or band is the future. It is however still evolving in terms of usage as a medical grade device and their accuracy levels. Most of such bands in Indian online market report error margin of +/- 5%.
But advantages of continuous BP monitoring is enormous
You may be a normal person buying a BP monitor to check hypertension problem, or buying for old parents a mobile device which will be helpful in many ways. Such devices can be used by professional athletes for measuring their blood pressure pattern to know why healthy athletes have sudden undetected heart issues.
Continuous monitoring can help people with hypertension better control it, take preventive medicines and well converse with their doctors with data. It can help detect abnormal blood pressure in your body even though you may be seemingly healthy.
Experts suggest that with blood pressure readings throughout the day and night, physicians will be able to understand different patterns of abnormal blood pressure. This can include problems like hypertension only at night, or blood pressure spikes in the early morning, which may explain high percentage of strokes in the early morning.
Are well-known big companies into blood pressure monitoring smart bands or watches ?
Omron, makers of medical-grade BP monitors, had announced launch of HeartGuide for commercial launch in 2018. This device or smart watch can take blood pressure measurements, sleep tracking, notifications and has since been given FDA approval as well. his however is not widely yet available in India.
Omron HeartGuide works on a different principle. It actually inflates the wrist to take oscillometric measurements like a normal digital BP monitor. Currently, you will find Omron BP monitors to be mostly upper arm or wrist type digital machines. If interested, you may check this link: High quality Omron Blood Pressure Monitors online.
Later, Samsung and Apple have come up with various versions of a health tracking Smart Watch devices, with their own proprietary technologies. These devices hav a host of health tracking features which include measuring blood pressure as well. But, you may note that these are quite premium brands and devices ar expensive.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 features a blood pressure monitor. However, you may not be able to use this as there is no supporting app, which is likely to come soon. Samsung Health Monitor app has been approved by the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). This fairly expensive and premium quality Samsung Active 2 watch has received approval as a medical device and company claims the first device as first of its kind to measure blood pressure.
We believe that in future eventually all mainstream fitness watches or bands will include blood pressure monitoring and other health tracking features/ apps. Be sure to keep eye on such technology changes or updates.
What kind of smart band blood pressure monitors are currently available in India online?
Apart from popular upper arm digital BP monitors and wrist type devices, there are few such fitness bands or smart watches or smart bracelets available in the market. These devices have specifications which include usual notifications, activity monitoring along with measurement for heart rate and blood pressure.
All these devices come with an option to sync health and activity data to your smart phone’s health app if available or a free Health App. The app syncs with the device and helps keep track of your health info such as steps, heart rate, sleep, etc. You can also get monthly, weekly or daily trend chart, which can be very useful for your doctor’s examination.
You may also keep personal information such as gender, weight, height etc. in the App for better correlating to your health stats.
You can check the following products: –
We have picked the following affordable products with above features, which are selling well and have been receiving good user reviews. Check them out for yourself, if interested.
If you are a sports person or fitness conscious, you need to take continuous BP measurements. Then few great smart band based blood pressure monitors are available online. These are quite handy wearable devices and quite stylish too! However, you should allow for an error margin of +/- 5%.
However, if your requirement is for home use, then best one available in Indian market is a digital blood pressure monitor, with upper arm type cuffs. Alternatively, you can buy a wrist type, provided you follow instructions well and take care to position your wrist at heart level. Read here about various types of BP monitors available.
If you have very high or fluctuating blood pressure, do consult with your doctor and can also seek advice as to which blood pressure monitor you should be using at home.