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High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide and results in 10 million deaths per year, according to the World Heart Federation. It's the number one risk factor for death on a global scale, presenting a challenge because of how difficult it is to detect, monitor, and treat.
Your whole body is affected when your blood pressure (BP) is consistently high. High blood pressure is equal to or greater than 140 over 90 mmHg, where the top number is a measure of the force in your arteries as your heart beats and pumps blood, and the bottom number is a measure of the force in your arteries as your heart is resting between beats.
Hypertension slowly damages blood vessels, which leads to complications down the line, but it often doesn't cause symptoms on its own or right away. It's crucial to detect hypertension before cardiovascular ailments make it undeniable.
Dr. Kazuomi Kario, professor and chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Jichi Medical University, addressed the potential to manage high blood pressure with technology in an article featured in the Journal of the American Heart Association:
Currently available data indicate that digital management of hypertension and wearable BP monitoring technology are the way of the future. These approaches make the aim of reducing, or even eliminating, the occurrence of cardiovascular events in patients with hypertension a realistic possibility.
Even though smartphone apps aren't yet useful on their own to monitor BP, Kario pointed to another promising technology: wearables. Recent studies showed that wearables are "validated and reliable" and "have been shown to perform well against current out-of-office BP measurement approaches." However, the onus is on the user to determine the best wearable and to use it properly.
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I've researched the best blood pressure watches, so you can evaluate the best options on the market and find the one that works best for you. Here are my top picks and the reasons why they shine.
Omron HeartGuide features: BP measurement: Inflatable cuff | Wrist circumference: 6.3-7.1 inches (medium); 7.2-8.5 inches (large) | Weight: Approximately 4.1 oz (115 g) | Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery | Battery life: Single charge lasts for approximately 500 cycles | App: Omron Connect
The Omron HeartGuide is the first FDA-approved blood pressure watch. In 30 seconds, you can take a clinically accurate blood pressure reading with just the watch. You can track trends in your blood pressure over time and better understand your readings through the free Omron Connect app. The data collected through the app can be shared with your doctor for better management of hypertension or hypertension-related illnesses.
The HeartGuide works with an inflatable cuff within the watch band that has smaller versions of the components in a regular blood pressure monitor. You can track your physical activity and monitor sleep patterns with the watch, too.
Though the watch has been cleared by the FDA, some users report inaccuracies with measurements and are not satisfied with the battery life of the watch. Also, it's worth noting that the brightness of the screen cannot be adjusted.
Still, this watch gives you the freedom to take blood pressure measurements up to 8 times a day on a fully charged battery. Omron has more than 80 new patents connected to the construction of this watch, which indicates that the old model of doing things had to be redesigned to present this as an option to potential users.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 features: BP measurement: Pulse wave analysis | Screen size: 40mm or 44mm | Weight: 1.01 oz (28.6 g) | Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery | Battery life: 50 hours on a single charge | App: Galaxy Wearable
You may not have heard of the Omron HeartGuide, but chances are you've heard of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. The smartwatch is an internationally popular wearable, and it can measure blood pressure, too.
The Galaxy Watch 5 measures blood pressure and takes ECGs with the Samsung Health Monitor app on the watch. The app is not a diagnostic tool but a monitoring tool for deeper insights into heart health daily. Samsung cautions that the blood pressure function "cannot diagnose hypertension, other conditions, or check for signs of a heart attack. It is not meant to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional."
When it comes to monitoring existing conditions, the watch shows promise. A study conducted with the Galaxy Watch 5 showed that taking blood pressure measurements with the watch resulted in reliable and accurate readings. The watch was used to help monitor BP in patients with Parkinson's Disease.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: The best wearable for Android fans
The blood pressure function has not received FDA approval in the US yet, but it is available in at least 50 other countries, including Canada, Vietnam, and South Africa. To ensure accurate readings, users have to calibrate their watches every month with a traditional blood pressure cuff. The watch itself is packed with other features, including sleep tracking and music streaming, and it also made ZDNET's list of the best smartwatches, according to expert runners.
YHE BP Doctor Pro features: BP measurement: Inflatable cuff | Wrist size: 5.31-8.66 inches | Weight: 2.12 oz (60.1 g) | Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery | App: For both iPhone and Android | Also measures blood oxygen, HRV, heart rate, and more
The YHE BP Doctor Pro measures your blood pressure with medical-grade accuracy. The key is the watch's patented inflatable air cuff, which detects blood pressure fluctuations. You can measure your blood pressure at any time, and the watch has a host of other features, including HRV or heart rate variability. HRV measures the time difference between each heartbeat to give you insights into how well you recover from stress.
The heart rate monitor in the watch monitors your heart continuously for 24 hours a day. Blood oxygen levels (SpO2) are easily detectable on the spot with the press of a button on the watch. Continuous SpO2 monitoring means that the watch can detect apneas and send you an alert about it. It can even suggest that you switch your sleeping pattern as a result of changes in breathing that indicate snoring or respiratory problems.
The YHE BP Doctor Pro is a full-range smartwatch with sleep, activity, and health tracking in addition to alarms, messages, and weather. You can sync your data to the Android or iOS app and create a health management plan that includes your whole family.
FitVII Smartwatch features: BP measurement: Sensors | Screen size: 1.7 inches | Weight: 1.2 oz (34.02 g) | Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery | Battery life: 7+ days | App: FitCloudPro App
The blood pressure wearable market is still in development, and emerging technologies can be expensive. This watch is less costly than alternatives at less than $40 on Amazon. The 4.1 stars it has earned from over 2,000 reviewers around the world also bodes well. Reviewers remark on the consistency of the blood pressure readings after calibration using the related app.
The watch also includes sleep tracking, analyzing time you've spent in deep sleep or light sleep. It tracks your activity and gives you the weather in real-time, as well as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen tracking on its 1.7-inch HD screen. The battery life lasts 7 to 10 days. The low price of the watch is good in one sense because it provides an affordable alternative to smartwatches with similar features. However, the price could also indicate a lower-quality user experience.
The FitVII website also sells the GT5 watch with 24/7 heart rate and blood pressure monitoring for around $100 ($90 with the current discount).
LiveOne features: BP measurement: Sensors | Reading every 10 seconds | No calibration with cuff | Not available for individual sale yet | Expected to reach major retailers in mid-2023 | FDA approved
LiveMetric's LiveOne Band forgoes the need for an inflatable cuff -- and it's approved by the FDA.
The device can take a reading every 10 seconds with small sensors that measure the movement of blood beneath the skin. The device can be used day or night to track changes in blood pressure without any additional calibration.
LiveMetric published the results of a study comparing LiveOne readings with blood pressure measurements gathered in a hospital setting, using A-line or arterial line measurements. The study results in the American Journal for Hypertension show that the device "provides continuous, noninvasive BP measurements that are accurate in comparison to A-line measurements."
The technology has already received praise, with LiveMetric winning the "Industries Hottest Companies MedTech Innovator 2022 Accelerator" award last year.
The LiveOne wearable received FDA clearance in 2022 and is currently only available for purchase by hospitals and employers. Individuals who want to try the device can expect to see the band in major stores in mid-2023.
The best blood pressure watch is the Omron HeartGuide.
Blood pressure watch
How does it work?
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Pulse wave analysis, monthly calibration with traditional blood pressure cuff
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
YHE BP Doctor Pro
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Takes a reading every 10 seconds with nanosensors that measure the movement of blood beneath the skin
Each blood pressure watch has its unique use case. The Omron HeartGuide, for example, has FDA approval, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is more commercially available.
Choose this blood pressure watch…
If you want…
The best blood pressure watch overall. It has the FDA stamp of approval to give you blood pressure readings in as little as 30 seconds.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
A popular smartwatch that can measure blood pressure and take ECGs on the go. These features are only available in select countries at the moment.
YHE BP Doctor Pro
To measure your blood pressure with medical-grade accuracy. It also measures HRV, or heart rate variability, and blood oxygen.
An affordable blood pressure monitor with plenty of reviews that speak to its accuracy and reliability. It also comes with additional smartwatch features, like step and calorie counting.
To purchase a blood pressure measuring wearable in mid-2023. This promising wearable can take a reading every 10 seconds with innovative nanotechnology.
Dr. Elizabeth M. Goldberg, an emergency physician trained at Brown University, published an article about wearable blood pressure trackers in the National Library of Medicine. According to the article, wearable blood pressure trackers can help doctors diagnose patients with hypertension before they have to be treated for it, but "privacy, accuracy, and cost concerns have prevented widespread clinical uptake."
Those are three factors I looked out for when evaluating the options below. If there's evidence that blood pressure tracking wearables can protect data, promise high accuracy, and deliver at a reasonable cost, doctors would be more likely to recommend them to high-risk patients. Patients, in turn, would feel safer using these devices.
One obstacle I ran into, however, was the lack of options out there for blood pressure wearables. The concept itself seems to be embraced by many, but I found the execution to be less robust. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 still does not have FDA approval in the United States for blood pressure readings, so that feature isn't an option for the US market. The Omron HeartGuide is FDA-approved, but it is a costly wearable with a price tag of $500. More economical wearables don't seem as reliable or as focused on data privacy.
Compiling this list required balancing what is commercially available, or soon to be available, and what is accurate, reasonably priced, and ethical. I included most options available today, but I hope to be able to expand this list as the blood pressure wearable market expands.
I know, a watch that measures blood pressure sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. Recent advances mean that futuristic wearables are becoming more realistic than ever before. Blood pressure watches that are vetted and tested really do work, but I recommend talking to your doctor before use.
In an article featured in IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, Dr. Paolo Bonato, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, identified four areas of focus that are especially important when understanding recent advances in wearables: 1) wearable sensors, 2) wearable systems, 3) signal processing and analysis procedures, and 4) closed-loop systems for adaptive orthoses and prostheses. The first three areas are important in blood pressure monitoring, as sensors and systems feed into analysis and recommendations by doctors. Here's a comprehensive paper on wearable tech in healthcare that Dr. Bonato contributed to for those who want to learn more.
According to Healthline, the blood pressure range for a hypertension crisis is a systolic number above 180 mm Hg and a diastolic number above 120 mm Hg. Immediate medical attention is required at that level.
Healthy blood pressure is a reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg, while elevated blood pressure ranges from a systolic number of 120-129 mm Hg and a diastolic number of less than 80 mm Hg.
Hypertension occurs starting at 130-139/80-89 mm Hg. It's good to have an idea of where your blood pressure should fall. Hypertension doesn't result in visible symptoms right away, so it's important to detect and manage it early on.
You cannot measure blood pressure with an Apple Watch alone. You can link it to a compatible blood pressure monitor and synchronize your blood pressure data to your Apple Watch. The Omron Evolv wireless blood pressure monitor is a compatible device, and the iHealth Feel wireless blood pressure monitor works, too.
Absolutely. The alternatives below do not measure blood pressure, but they have plenty of other health-tracking features that are worth considering.
The latest Apple Watch is packed with health features you can use to support healthy habits or even create new ones.
We ranked this smartwatch the best Fitbit for a reason -- it's a GPS sports watch and health tracker at an affordable price compared to alternatives.