Fitbit does not currently offer blood pressure monitoring to users, although the company is currently holding a study to see if the feature can be added to their products.
Read the following sections to understand the science behind blood pressure and how Fitbit is trying to add the feature to their watches.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
In a doctor’s office, a healthcare professional would measure your blood pressure by placing an inflatable around your upper arm. The cuff would inflate and gently inflict pressure on your arm before releasing, with the healthcare provider noting when they can first hear the blood pulsing and then when the sound stops.
Why Is Blood Pressure Important?
Blood pressure is an important part of the circulatory system because it moves blood throughout our bodies. According to Medical News Today, blood pressure nourishes tissues and organs and delivers white blood cells, along with important antibodies and hormones.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to issues as severe as heart attack or stroke, heart failure, kidney pain, and more.
For people with hypertension, regular blood pressure readings keep them informed and healthy.
Does Fitbit Measure Blood Pressure?
As of writing, Fitbit does not currently measure blood pressure through their watches. In April 2021, however, Fitbit explained that they began exploring the possibility of adding a blood pressure monitor to their watches. This research, ideally, would lead to the implementation of blood pressure monitoring in their devices.
How Can I Regularly Track My Blood Pressure?
If you suffer from hypertension, you are used to regularly taking your blood pressure. Though no smart watch’s blood pressure monitoring has been approved by the FDA, you can pursue a different option for convenient, at-home monitoring.
The Omron Heart Guide, a wearable device that has been granted FDA approval, relies on traditional blood pressure technology and would be an accurate choice for those interested in frequent monitoring.
Other watches use light sensors to track blood pressure, although these do not have FDA approval and do not have the same accuracy, such as the MorePro Fitness Tracker and Garinemax.
Do Other Smart Watches Measure Blood Pressure?
In the United States, no smart watch has access to FDA-approved blood pressure monitoring features. Because the technology behind reading blood pressure is so complex, FDA clearance is hard to come by.
Blood pressure-monitoring software has been highly sought-over, with interest shown by both Fitbit and Apple.
What Does Fitbit Measure?
While Fitbit watches do not currently measure blood pressure, they do monitor a great deal of other health readings that can inform you of possible problems and keep you aware of your health. These include heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen levels.
Fitbit’s heart rate tracker has proven to be very accurate. The smart watch uses flashing lights to measure your heart’s beats per minute (BPM). Your heart rate can clue you into your heart health and fitness level.
Additionally, a high heart rate can be an indicator of health issues. According to Sutter Health, a too-high heart rate could be the result of inactivity, stress, caffeine, or dehydration. If you regularly monitor your heart rate, you can improve your health by making positive changes.
With the Fitbit Sense or Fitbit Charge 5, you can monitor your heart rhythm to check for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which causes a rapid and irregular heartbeat that could lead to blood clotting in the heart.
If you have had AFib episodes before, a smartwatch feature such as this one may be important to have- for you and for your doctor.
Blood Oxygen Levels
Your blood oxygen levels show how much oxygen your blood contains, with ideal numbers being between 95 and 100%. Numbers lower than this may indicate a problem with your lungs or circulatory system. With numbers under 88%, you should consult medical attention immediately.
While Fitbit does not currently provide blood pressure-monitoring technology, they are in the process of researching the feature. Fitbit does currently, however, offer other health-focused features such as the monitoring of heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen levels.
If you need blood-pressure specific monitoring, you are best off buying an FDA-approved device while waiting for Fitbit’s technology to develop.