Better known for its GPS smartwatches and navigators, Garmin is breaking new ground in health monitoring with its first smart blood pressure monitor: Index BPM.
The first thing you’ll notice is that BPM index (opens in a new tab) is much bigger than, say, a smartwatch. The likely reason for its size is that the device can fit around your biceps and provide accurate readings. Although they are smartwatches that can measure blood pressure (opens in a new tab)those that do so using a cuff are not widely available, and those that use pulse transit time “require regular calibration with a conventional home blood pressure monitor,” says Garmin. Furthermore, Garmin notes, these devices typically cannot “track systolic and diastolic blood pressure,” while the BPM Index can.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (opens in a new tab), systolic blood pressure refers to arterial pressure when the heart is pumping and diastolic is the pressure when the heart is at rest. Knowing both is important to heart health. Readings for both measurements appear on the OLED index screen with the appropriate indicators “SYS” and “DIA” so you will know which number is which.
The Index BPM strap can fit a wide range of shoulder sizes from 9 to 17 inches (22 to 42 cm) in circumference. It’s powered by four AAA batteries that will last a good nine months before they need to be replaced, according to Garmin.
As for the software side, Index BPM features allow multiple users and ways to create reports. The device can sync with the Garmin Connect Mobile App (opens in a new tab) via Wi-Fi, where you can view detailed blood pressure readings, add notes and view the overall history of the device. The collected data can also be viewed in the app as a weekly, monthly or annual report.
You can create up to 16 different user profiles for Index BPM in the Connect app. Each profile will track readings for each person using the device. This data can then be synced with other Garmin Connect applications so that users can read their reports on their devices.
Garmin notes that the BPM index has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which may lead some to believe that it has not been “FDA approved.” Every time a new medical device hits the market, The FDA tests them to make sure they are safe. (opens in a new tab) If something is “FDA approved”, it means that the device works similar to the existing one and does not require special “pre-market approval”. On the other hand, “FDA approved” usually refers to medications and anything that can directly affect a person’s health.
The BPM Index is now available for $ 149.99 (US only) on the day Garmin Online Store (opens in a new tab).
Potential new trend
Garmin may be the first to benefit from providing accurate blood pressure monitoring. As mentioned earlier, most smartwatches are not the most accurate in measuring blood pressure, even Apple has problems with technology and more specifically accuracy. According to a Bloomberg report (opens in a new tab)Apple wants to add this feature to the Apple Watch, but it looks like it won’t be until 2024.
On the other hand, Huawei appears to have launched this technology. TechRadar’s very own Lance Ulanoff has recently tried Huawei Watch D at IFA 2022 where the device took his systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Be sure to check our coverage.