High blood pressure – hypertension – increases the risk of a heart attack. One in three adults is affected but as there are no obvious symptoms, a third of these can be unaware of a problem. This is why it is important to regularly measure and track blood pressure. Self-checking is also of great help in understanding how dietary, fitness and other changes effect your readings.
Essential reading: Best blood pressure monitors – rankings
Omron has been one of the most established brands on the home blood pressure monitor market since the 1960s. The company boasts an almost bewildering range of blood pressure monitors for sale – the majority of which are for use on the upper arm.
The company has provided a sneak peek of two new devices at CES 2016, and previewed an initiative to evolve the blood pressure category to “do more to improve heart health for millions of hypertensive individuals.”
“Blood pressure monitors must go beyond tracking numbers. Omron Healthcare is aiming at a greater mission – to help improve heart health. In addition to building on our heritage of accuracy, we are designing our new products to provide more insights, encourage behavioral change, and promote healthier lifestyle habits,” said Ranndy Kellogg, Chief Operating Officer of Omron Healthcare.
The two new devices, dubbed “Project Zero” monitors, include a standard upper arm blood pressure monitor that shows your results on a tiny display screen, and a new wrist blood pressure monitor.
The more innovative of the two, the Project Zero Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor, allows users to discretely track real time blood pressure readings with a portable device, free of cuffs, wires or hoses. This is the first watch-sized sphygmanometer that promises readings as accurate as you would get from upper arm models.
The monitor, which is a bit bulkier than other wearables on the market, looks more like your standard smartwatch than a medical device. The large size is because it uses a miniaturized version of the inflatable cuff found on larger blood pressure monitors.
In addition to tracking blood pressure, the monitor provides real-time information on physical activity and sleep. All of this health data is then synced to the Omron Connect app for iOS and Android, where the user can better manage their health and share their results with their doctor.
“This new device also allows users to receive detailed data that reminds users to take medication and record the time they take it to improve and track compliance,” Omron Healthcare COO Ranndy Kellogg said in a press release.
Typically, measuring blood pressure from the wrist is tricky as your arm has to be in exactly the right position to get an accurate reading. This is why it is generally accepted that upper arm monitors are more precise. Omron has included sensors in the new wrist device that figure out how you’re holding your arm, and alert you to move it if needed for improved accuracy.
Omron is still working on completing its certification on the wearable, which has been FDA tested, but claims that it is accurate enough to be used by health professionals. The Project Zero devices should be ready for sale sometime in late 2016 and will cost around $200.
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