Can Fitness Watches Measure Blood Pressure?
Smartwatches are marvels of technology that perform different functions. These miniature gadgets have become replacements for our smartphones.
In the beginning, smartwatches and trackers were built to act as mini-computers. However, smartwatches soon become popular as Fitness trackers. Within no time we saw fitness watches and trackers such as Fitbit being taken up well by the fitness-conscious lot.
This prompted the manufacturers to incorporate more and more fitness tracking features into their devices. Now we have smartwatches that are capable of carrying out different fitness and health-related features.
This includes a pedometer, calorie counter, sports modes, built-in GPS, and health tracking features. We have seen advancements in the health monitoring features in recent times
Initially, we saw heart rate trackers inside smartwatches which were later paired with Oxygen Saturation measurers. But can fitness watches measure Blood pressure?
What is Blood Pressure and How is it Measured?
Blood pressure is an important parameter of the human body. It is important in detecting and diagnosing difficult medical conditions including heart diseases and stroke.
Blood Pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the arteries. There are two types of blood pressure i.e. Systolic Blood pressure and Diastolic Blood Pressure.
Systolic Blood Pressure is the pressure exerted on the arteries when the heart contracts. The normal values for systolic pressure are 90-120mmHg. Diastolic Blood Pressure is the pressure when the heart relaxes. The normal range for systolic pressure is 60-80mmHg.
Blood Pressure is measured by using a device called the Sphygmomanometer. This apparatus comprises an inflatable cuff, a bulb, and a meter.
The doctor places the cuff around your arm. This is followed by inflating the cuff using the bulb. Then the doctor gradually deflates the cuff while hearing the surges of blood from the arm.
Inflation of the cuff causes a collapse of the arm’s artery when external pressure exceeds the internal pressure of blood. When deflation occurs, blood starts to repour into the artery.
When the external pressure becomes equal to the internal pressure of the artery blood starts to reflow. These first surges of the blood are turbulent and are heard in the arm via a stethoscope.
You can now find automatic Sphygmomanometers that work by placing the cuff around the arm and just checking an automated screen.
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Fitness Watches For BP measuring 2022
With the advent of portable medical equipment, companies are now looking into providing maximum medical benefits to the users at the price.
After nearly accurate heart rate monitors, smartwatches added Oxygen saturation measures that worked well too.
So, now a number of smartwatch producers incorporate Blood pressure monitors in their devices.
But can they work?
Obviously, a smartwatch lacks the proper apparatus to measure Blood pressure. Therefore, smartwatches apply a different approach for the purpose.
Sensors for blood pressure:
Fitness Smartwatches use different sensors for measuring your blood pressure. These sensors include a Photoplethysmogram (PPG) and Electrocardiogram (ECG).
PPG uses a light-emitting diode to illuminate the skin and calculate the amount of light reflected. You can get a detailed description of ECG and PPG’s working by clicking here.
The PPG and the ECG work together to measure the Pulse Transit Time i.e the time taken for the blood pulse to reach the peripheral part of the body on which the device is placed (wrist of hand).
Another sensor i.e. the Empa sensor is a newer sensor available in smartphones and smartwatches that are used to measure Blood pressure. It uses the Oscillometric principle when the finger is placed over the sensor. This sensor measures the amplitude of the blood-volume oscillations to determine the Blood pressure.
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There are certain Fitness Smartwatches and Trackers that are effective in measuring your Blood Pressure. The results are not as good as the proper medical equipment but give an accurate idea of the changes in BP.
- No need to go to a doctor
- Convenient to use
- Easier recording of Blood pressure without proper learning
- Data can be shared with a healthcare provider
- You can use the data to map your activities
- Results are not accurate and not as good as that of a medical apparatus
- You have to charge the devices unlike the medical devices
- Need to keep the arm steady while measuring because the sensor is sensitive to movements
- Sensors can’t be used during exercises
You can check out some of the finest Fitness Watches for Blood Pressure:
Fitness Watches can be used to measure Blood Pressure values. The smart devices use Photoplythesmogram and Electrocardiogram sensors to measure the heat pulse velocity and estimate the Blood pressure using it. Advanced Empa sensors are being used in some watches and smartphones that measure the amplitude of oscillations of the blood cells.
These methods are very different from conventional ways of measuring Blood Pressure via a Sphygmomanometer. Despite the difference, smartwatches are capable of producing good results.
We won’t say these are accurate but the sensors do a good job of informing you of the changes in Blood pressure. The sensors are sensitive to movement so, they should be kept completely still.
Keeping in mind the convenience and near to decent results, we conclude that Fitness watches can be used to measure Blood Pressure.