How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Measurement by Smartphone Apps?

How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Measurement by Smartphone Apps?

How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Measurement by Smartphone Apps?

Extraordinary smartphone technologies

Many of the latest smartphones have a whole range of sensitive sensors integrated into the motherboard. Nevertheless, it is not yet able to measure blood pressure. There is a prototype device which has been developed by medical researchers associated with Michigan State University. This device measures your blood pressure by utilizing these sensors in your smartphone. Many people have their smartphones on their person for several hours every day. With all of the integrated sensors, why couldn’t the smartphone be used to gather some health data? Millions of people have their blood pressure measurement every year. In most cases, this is accomplished with a cuff device. Now, what about pairing this device with a modern smartphone? The next step will be for an individual to place his finger on the sensor which will result in a blood pressure reading.

What would it look like?

How PPG sensor measures blood volume

The proposed blood test reading device will come in two parts. It will have a thin-filmed force transducer and people also have a photoplethysmography also known simply as the PPG. This PPG sensor is able to measure changes in blood volume. This is accomplished by illuminating tissue and then the changes in light absorption is a measure which can actually determine the heart rate of an individual. When a person applies pressure with his finger, the process will be similar to the conventional cuff and this will give an accurate blood pressure reading. The smartphone which is used should have an app which is able how much force is applied to the transducer because it is important to maintain adequate pressure on the PPG. They currently available technology requires users to place their fingers on the device in a very specific way. Thereafter the results can be obtained within seconds. It has been determined during the research project that most subjects were able to master the device in a relatively short time. The acquired research data has shown that the blood pressure readings were very similar to those obtained in a conventional way.

The way forward

Although there is a lot of excitement about everything which has been accomplished so far they had it sees the prototype sensor is still too large and therefore not something which people would like to have on their smartphone. The good news is that some smartphone such as those manufactured by Samsung already has integrated PPG sensors which can be used for measuring heart rate. This sensor was first introduced with the Galaxy S5 and it is still used in the latest products from Samsung. The sensor is situated on the back of the smartphone right next to the camera. There are many other devices such as bracelets that have been fitted with PPG’s and which is able to get accurate readings from the wrist of a person. All that is now required will be the addition of a force sensor which would allow these devices to calculate blood pressure. The problem currently encountered is getting the finger in the correct position which will need refinement. However, there was a similar problem with fingerprint sensors which has been solved over time and this could also happen were force sensors. Better technologies emerge every day resulting in significantly improved mobile sensors.

Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone with a blood pressure app

Samsung Galaxy S9 with a blood pressure app

Looking at the available facts

There are commercially available blood pressure cuffs which are very cheap but very few people ever consider to actually purchase one. Those individuals who actually have one mostly have it locked away somewhere in a cupboard. On the other hand, millions of people have a smartphone with themselves for extended periods of time every day. With many exciting technologies, there is often a lot of consumer hype and this can result in people who might attempt to measure their blood pressure with devices which could be inaccurate, untested and therefore potentially dangerous. Likewise, there are many smartphone applications which are making a lot of claims thereby misleading people. In most cases this is harmless but just imagine a person with a genuine blood pressure problem who might not suspect that anything is wrong because of an inaccurate blood pressure reading. This could result in serious health-related problems and even death.

Conclusion

Sophisticated technologies are wonderful tools and they can be extremely beneficial to people all over the world. During a recent research project, professionals analyzed more than 100 applications which had been connected specifically for high blood pressure and hypertension. Most of these apps are available from Apple iTunes and also from Google play. It was determined that almost 70% of all applications tested are without any doubt very useful tools for the gathering of medical data.

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