Last Updated on
In this article we will try to cover blood pressure monitor in a wearable device such as smart watches or fitness bands. We already have covered what are the various types of blood pressure monitors in the Indian online market. You can read about them here.
Why do you require a home use blood pressure monitor?
High blood pressure (High BP), also known as hypertension, is 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.
As per studies, one in every three Indians are known to have hypertension. However, many suffering from high blood pressure problem are unaware of it ! Many hold the misconception that hypertension or High BP is associated with older people only. Read our article here on high blood pressure problem and how to tackle it.
Due to this, more and more doctors are recommending people to take measurements at home for high blood pressure. Having a home use BP monitor can provide more accurate picture than infrequent readings in the doctor’s office.
We have selected following products based on brand reputation, ease of use, durability and user reviews/ popularity.
What are 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 people to follow instructions properly and place their arm at heart level. They can sit in a chair & desk at home and take accurate readings.
On the other hand, this is difficult to do with a wrist type cuff BP monitor, though possible. Many people fail to do so or forget to do. This can lead 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 standard upper arm cuff type monitors.
Experts say that the key to using wrist type monitors and getting accurate readings is to properly follow instructions and place the wrist at heart level, while measuring blood pressure.
But cuff type BP monitors can be cumbersome at times
Until recently, 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 hypertension and if you are continuously on the move. Or maybe, you would still like to measure while sleeping at night. Or, while doing your sports activities on the field (and not at home), you want to measure your BP 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. It can detect abnormal blood pressure in people who are seemingly healthy.
Experts say that 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, has announced launch of HeartGuide, expected commercial launch later in 2018. This device or smart watch can take blood pressure measurements, sleep tracking, notifications. You can read full report here.
Omron HeartGuide will have an extra-stiff band that will actually inflate to take an oscillometric measurement like a normal digital BP monitor. Current Omron models for BP monitor are mostly upper arm or wrist type digital machines.
Further, Samsung is reportedly working on a Gear Smart Watch which will have proprietary technology for measuring blood pressure. This is also supposed to be launched later this year.
We believe that all mainstream fitness watches or bands will eventually include blood pressure monitoring. 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, 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 or a free Health App such as Wearfit. For example, Wearfit App coming with one product keeps track of all your health info such as steps, heart rate, sleep, etc. It can also give you monthly, weekly or daily trend chart, which can be very useful for doctor’s diagnosis.
You can also keep personal information such as gender, weight, height etc. in the App for better relating to your health stats.
You can check the following products: –
The following products have the above features, been selling well and have received good user reviews. You can check them out for yourself, if you are 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.
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.