Best Fitbit For Blood Pressure Monitoring, Can Fitbit Measure Blood Pressure?

I have been asked a lot what is the best Fitbit device for blood pressure monitoring and the truth is that as for now(September 2019) there isn’t a Fitbit device that can monitor blood pressure or ECG.

However, if you are searching for a wearable blood pressure monitor in the shape of a wristband or a smartwatch(an assumption that I make based on your search for a blood pressure monitor device from Fitbit) than a very good Option comes from Omron and it is the Omron’s HeartGuide Smartwatch.

Another great option is a combination of the Apple Watch 4 alone(If you are satisfied with just an ECG test) or with a paired blood pressure monitor – the QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor.

I will explain more about these 2 watches and will offer another great, cheaper third option.

Can Fitbit measure/monitor blood pressure?

Like I have mentioned, the answer is no, there is no Fitbit device that can track or monitor blood pressure.

I do not know the reason why Fitbit doesn’t come out with a Smartwatch that can monitor blood pressure but I can only guess that they have not been able to find the right technology for manufacturing a device that meets the standards of the company, meaning, accurate and small enough to wear it comfortably during the day.

But I’m guessing that it is just a matter of time until we will see such a device from Fitbit on the market.

There are lots of Chinese wristband and Smartwatches that claims to be able to monitor blood pressure from your wrist but if you are looking for a serious, accurate blood pressure monitor watch which is FDA cleared than the best option is to buy it from the giant of the blood pressure monitoring world, Omron or as mentioned above you can use the Apple Watch along with an additional blood pressure monitor QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor which is also FDA approved.

Important note!
Since Apple has launched the WatchOS 5.1.2, the Apple Watch 4 is now able to do ECG tests and so is the Vivowatch BP by Asus(third on my list), both are doing it in a pretty accurate way.


So if an ECG test satisfies you than using these watches is a great option for you and you will not be required to purchase the QardioArm Blood Pressure monitor with your Apple watch as it can read your heart rate and do the ECG test with the built-in electric and optic sensors and electrodes that it comes with.


Apple also launched the ECG app which is a great and convenient way to track your ECG measurements. Here is a video demonstration of the new ECG app in the Apple 4 smartwatch

Can Fitbit detect heart problems?

Well, I didn’t see serious research that approves it, however, such research has been done with the competitor, the Apple watch and the results look promising!

Researchers at the University of California have found that the popular smartwatch can detect heart rate problems in an accuracy of 97 percent and can even distinguish between a state of emergency and an increase in heart rate caused by excitement.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of California USA in 2017 with the developers of the “Cardiogram” application revealed that, besides being the best-selling wearable item, Apple’s smartwatch can also detect heart rate problems with a maximum accuracy of 97 percent.

Tested data for 6,000 users across the United States through a dedicated application (which is free to download), found that the smartwatch was able to locate users with atrial fibrillation (arrhythmias), compared to healthy users.

The diagnosis included wearing the watch and a series of tests of heart rate and pulse at intervals of several hours between test and test.

The app knew whether it was a change in heart rate due to any event or excitement, as opposed to those who regularly suffer from the problem.

However, there is a downside to these promising results.
The results were accurate only when the subjects were at rest, while active, the results were inaccurate and not trustable.

The studies also showed that the Apple watch can also accurately detect sleep apnea – you can read more on the subject in this related article.

Reminding you that the new Apple watches – the 4 and 5, comes with a built-in ECG feature in opposite to the Apple 3 participated in the test.

Does Fitbit have ECG?

The quick answer to that is no, there is no Fitbit device that can perform an ECG/EKG test.
For some reason, Fitbit does not include an ECG monitor in their devices and their latest device – the Versa 2, does not include it too.
I guess we will have to wait and see whether Fitbit will implement this important feature in their next devices.

Which Smartwatch has ECG/EKG?

Except for the quite expensive Apple 4 and the new Apple 5, there are much more affordable smartwatches that can monitor ECG accurately.
Here is a small list of some of the best one’s available today:

  1. Amazfit Verge2
  2. Withings Move
  3. Asus Vivowatch BP

What is the difference between an ECG/EKG measurement and a blood pressure monitor measurement?

An electrocardiogram also called an ECG or EKG is a quick, painless and safe test that can provide information regarding your heart health.

The ECG/EKG measures the electric activity of your heart using electrodes on different points on your skin(your wrist in our case).

What can the ECG test tell us?

Each heartbeat is caused by an electric wave.
The ECG can basically measure how long it takes to the wave to move from one side of the heart to another and the amount of the electrical activity passing through the heart.

This ECG data can tell us the followings:

  • Abnormality of our heart rhythms
  • Enlargement of one side of the heart
  • Poor blood supply to the heart
  • Identify thickened heart muscle and more abnormal activity

ECG tests are usually recommended by doctors for people who suffer from high blood pressure or with heart problems.

ECG TEST IS NOT BLOOD PRESSURE TEST
! – However, it can give very important information regarding your heart’s health.

In order to monitor blood pressure, pressure must be applied to the tested blood vessel.

The pressure is intended to stop the blood flow and then it must slowly be released, this is the reason for the inflating sleeve that is being used with the standard monitors(A more detailed explanation later in the article).

So, Fitbit is out, What is then the best wearable blood pressure monitoring device in 2019?

Like I have mentioned, there aren’t too many good options when it comes to a wearable blood pressure monitor that is accurate and from my search, I could find just 3 that I would have trust to give me this information and those are:

1. Omron HeartGuide Smartwatch – great activity tracker smartwatch with a real built-in, patented blood pressure monitor

The first one is the earlier mentioned Omron HeartGuide smartwatch which features a real blood pressure monitor by using smart, innovative and patented technology in the shape of an inflating cuff (in opposite to the other 2 watches on this list that are only able to make an ECG test).

Another option for a small, portable, wrist-based, and accurate device is the very popular Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.

2. Apple watch 4 – an amazing activity tracker smartwatch with an accurate ECG feature and an awesome dedicated app

Like I have mentioned earlier if an ECG testing satisfies you than this amazing watch is the best option for you.

The Apple Watch 4 is one of the most popular fitness trackers in the world and combining with its new abilities to perform ECG tests and to save and show your stats in the new, awesome ECG app makes it a great purchase.

If you want a really accurate blood pressure monitor than adding the QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor will do the job.

3.Asus Vivowatch BP – a cheap option with an accurate ECG feature and a built-in GPS

The second one is the quite new device by Asus, the Asus VivoWatch BP which is using a combination of EKG (electrocardiogram) and PPG (photoplethysmography) sensors to achieve a reading of the heart rate and health.

Both of the watches can serve also as fitness trackers as they have the ability to monitor heart rate, sleep patterns and activity.

The Asus is not a match to the amazing Apple watch 4 when referring to smartwatch abilities and features.

However, the ECG feature will provide very accurate data, lots of users claimed that the apple watch 4 and this watch gave almost the same results in the ECG tests.

When taking into consideration that the Vivowatch BP comes with a built-in GPS and costs about half of the Apple watch 4, it makes sense to think of it as your next purchase.

The main Con of this device is that it is a bit bulky, so if the size of the watch is a big issue for you then it might be your deal-breaker.

I don’t have too much information regarding the accuracy of the Asus device and it is too early to make big assumptions about it, but from a first look, it looks too bulky with a very poor display.

In order to understand more about wearable blood pressure monitors, we have to understand how a blood pressure monitor works.

How Does Blood pressure Monitor Work?

In order to explain it best, here is a great explanation made by Yael Korem for Weizmann Institute of science.

What is systolic and diastolic pressure? And why are there sometimes significant differences between measuring the pressure in a home appliance and a manual examination at the clinic?

Right now, as you read these lines, your heart pushes the blood into your veins and stream it all over your body.

To the blood pressure – the pressure that blood runs on the walls of the blood vessels when it flows has many implications for our health and our general feeling, so it is no wonder that it is one of the first things doctors check when we turn to them.

The blood pressure changes with the heartbeat, so it is determined by two measures: the highest pressure on the blood vessels caused by the heart contracting (systolic pressure) and the lowest pressure when the heart is loose (diastolic pressure).

In a healthy person, the systolic pressure is about 120 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure is about 80 mm Hg. When the pressure rises above 140/90, the condition is defined as hypertension.

In the short term, it is usually difficult to feel the existence of high blood pressure – which is why he was nicknamed the “silent killer”.

In the long term, however, it causes hardening of the blood vessels, which are more prone to blockage and rupture.

High blood pressure is also a common cause of worsening diabetes and may damage the heart, eyes, kidneys, and brain. Therefore, patients within a risk group are often advised to monitor their blood pressure using a home blood pressure monitor.

Manual and automatic measurement

To measure blood pressure, a sleeve is usually worn on the arm and inflated. The principle of action of all blood pressure meters is similar: When the sleeve is very swollen it activates pressure on the artery that is higher than the systolic pressure and therefore manages to block the artery and stop the flow of blood.

Then gradually, the air is released from the sleeve until the blood flow is restored – this is the sign that we have reached the systolic pressure.

If we release more air from the sleeve, the blood flow will increase until we reach the diastolic pressure.

Beyond this point it does not matter if we continue to release air – the artery is already completely open and the sleeve does not interfere with blood flow.

Identifying these two points – the one that blood begins to flow in the artery and the one where the flow stops changing – makes it possible to determine the blood pressure.

But the different pressure monitors differ in the way they identify these two points.

One approach is to listen with a stethoscope to the blood flow in the artery, as the family doctor at the clinic does.

Without the sleeve, no sound will be heard, since the effect of the heartbeats on the flow in the artery is too small.

Even when the sleeve is very swollen, there will be no sound, because there is no flow.

But when the pressure in the sleeve equals the systolic pressure, you can hear a clear rustle.

This is because every heartbeat manages to push the sleeve slightly – and this noise is absorbed by the stethoscope, and continues to make A sound until the pressure in the sleeve drops below the diastolic pressure.

Home blood pressure monitors do not work on this principle, because not everyone knows how to use the stethoscope.

Instead, they recognize the vibration that the flow in the artery creates in the measurement sleeve.

This vibration can be identified by measuring the pressure of the sleeve – a thing that is being done anyway.

Conclusion

According to the American Heart Association, about 2.7 million US citizens have atrial fibrillation and other heart problems that may lead to death, according to the association. Early identification of the problem may significantly reduce the risk of a stroke.

Studies that have been done on modern fitness trackers like the popular Apple watch showed that they can accurately indicate irregular heartbeats, atrial fibrillation and more heart problems that can lead to a heart attack A wearable blood pressure monitor which is by its definition, a smaller, convenient and portable might be a great device that could be used everywhere and anytime.

The fitness trackers in this article are an awesome tool and can help you a lot with identifying heart problems before it is too late.

Each one of the 3 above comes with its pros and cons and it is for you to choose the one that fits you most.

For more posts and information about the author Eddie, please visit his website: https://weartotrack.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *