The next generation of Fitbit devices may come with the ability to measure your blood pressure. The wearable brand is launching a study through its research arm Fitbit Labs to see how wrist-worn devices can accurately measure a person’s blood pressure.
According to the company, nearly half of all adults in the US have high blood pressure. However, many don’t know they have it as symptoms are rarely obvious. And since checking blood pressure requires a blood pressure cuff that most people don’t have at home, many end up never checking at all, or checking once in a while at the doctor’s office. As such, “uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for people in the United States.”
To that end, Fitbit is exploring the possibility of making it easier for people to monitor their blood pressure with wearable devices. Specifically, the company is studying how a wearable device can measure Pulse Arrival Time (PAT). PAT is the time it takes for a pulse of blood to reach your wrist after a heartbeat.
Fitbit says previous researches have found a correlation between PAT and blood pressure. The company’s own internal study has also found such a correlation. However, the correlation was not strong enough to accurately predict blood pressure. With its latest study, the company is taking into account a broader population to see how PAT measurements change under different conditions.
Fitbit is exploring the possibility of measuring blood pressure with its wearable devices
Fitbit has traditionally made fitness-focused wearable devices. However, with wrist-worn devices coming with more and more health-tracking capabilities, the company has also stepped up its game in the field. Its most advanced smartwatch, the Fitbit Sense, can measure daily stress, blood oxygen level (SpO2), heart rate, and skin temperature. The company is now exploring the possibility of adding blood pressure to the mix.
Fitbit Labs’ latest study is open to Sense smartwatch users in the US who are at least 20 years old. All eligible users will receive a notification on their app to sign-up for the month-long study. Fitbit says diversity is essential in this research, encouraging eligible Sense users across all demographics to sign up.
It’s unclear for how long this “month-long” study will run. However, if the company succeeds in doing what it’s trying to do – establish a reliable correlation between PAT and blood pressure – then it might go a long way in helping people avoid preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke.
“It’s a hard scientific challenge,” said Shelten Yuen, Principal Scientist at Fitbit, who is leading this research. But “it’s a challenge we’re very passionate about solving.”
The post Fitbit Wearables May Soon Start Measuring Your Blood Pressure appeared first on Android Headlines.