The New Apple Watch Probably Won’t Measure Blood Pressure, and That’s a Good Thing
Just because you can (sort of) do something doesn’t mean you should
The health of your heart is important, and Apple wants to help.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the leading cause of avoidable death among Americans. That’s around 800,000 people annually. And it’s not just older adults. Heart attacks are on the rise in adults between 20 and 30 years old. According to the Cardio Metabolic Institute, about 1 in 5 heart attack victims are younger than 40.
It’s therefore no surprise that Apple has committed so much of its watch’s hardware and software to heart health. Apple Watch can monitor your pulse, carry out an ECG, and even measure blood oxygen levels.
The toolkit, however, is incomplete. Johns Hopkins lists blood pressure as the first measurable predictor of heart attacks. What a pity, then, that the Apple Watch can’t measure it.
This is something that Tim Cook wants to fix. Conventional blood pressure monitors are too big, but newer, smaller technologies have emerged. Just how reliable and convenient are they, though?
Samsung is a believer and offers a watch that can measure blood pressure. There are also bracelet solutions from specialist companies. The technology seems to be out there.
Mark Gurman reports, however, that Apple has hit problems, and apparently an Apple Watch with blood pressure monitoring won’t appear before 2024 at the earliest. Why? Is it just technical difficulties, or is the cause something more fundamental?
How do you measure blood pressure?
According to the UK’s National Health Service, you measure the pressure of blood leaving the heart (systolic) and returning (diastolic) in mmHg.
- Normal blood pressure is between 90 (systolic) / 60 (diastolic) and 120/80.
- A high reading is 140/90 or above.
- A low one is 90/60 or below.
The conventional blood pressure test uses a cuff placed around your arm. The cuff is inflated and then released…