You may be familiar with traditional blood pressure monitors, but that might change. Learn about new technology that measures your blood pressure.
Smart Blood Pressure Technology
Whether you check your blood pressure on the regular or only when you visit a doctor, you probably know how a traditional blood pressure monitor functions:
- A cuff gets wrapped around your upper arm
- The cuff inflates and squeezes your arm
- After a few seconds, it deflates, and numbers appear on the monitor
- The numbers represent your systolic and diastolic pressure
However, new technology that measures your blood pressure may come in the form of customized smart sneakers and video selfies.
Over 110 million adults in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure. To make blood pressure monitoring easier and more convenient, researchers are testing various innovative solutions.
However, while these new technologies may be more convenient, they may need work in terms of accuracy.
“If this innovation gets more people excited to check their blood pressure, I’m all for it. But the most important component is accuracy because if the readings aren’t accurate, the device isn’t providing any value,” said Jordana B. Cohen, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor in the division of Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension at Penn Medicine.
From Sneakers to an App that Measures your Blood Pressure
According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Under Armour has filed a patent for a sneaker that can measure a person’s blood pressure.
It might even work to improve blood flow if a person’s circulation is off.
That’s not all: researchers are working on a face-scanning app that will measure the user’s blood pressure by using digital optical sensors.
According to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, the phone is equipped with transdermal optical imaging software and uses the blood flow patterns to predict blood pressure.
While these innovative technologies are exciting, they are not yet ready for market.
According to Ray Townsend, MD, director of the Hypertension Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, “the degree of precision, accuracy and validation in smartphone devices, shoes or gloves aren’t under the same level of scrutiny [as devices specifically sold for health care purposes].”
Measuring Blood Pressure at Home
Regularly monitoring your blood pressure is helpful when it comes to detecting high blood pressure, as there are virtually no symptoms.
However, not all monitoring devices may be accurate. Cohen recommends patients take their at-home blood pressure measuring device to their doctor, so it’s checked against a manual reading to ensure accuracy.
Out-of-office devices can be particularly inaccurate for pregnant women and individuals with atrial fibrillation.
Measuring blood pressure correctly is essential. To get an accurate reading, doctors have the following recommendations:
- Avoid exercise and caffeine 30 minutes before measuring
- Keep cuffed arm on a flat surface at heart level
- Sit upright with your back straight and feet flat on the floor
- After taking blood pressure, wait one minute and re-take it