Smartphone Blood Glucose Meter – Ever heard of a sphygmomanometer? Maybe not by name, but if you have visited a doctor’s office or emergency room, you might have your blood pressure checked. It is important for doctors to monitor a patient’s blood pressure, or the strength of blood that pushes the walls of blood vessels, because blood pressure that is too high or too low can harm people for a number of health conditions.
Traditional arm cuffs that produce numerical readings of your blood pressure are called sphygmomanometers … say that three times fast. Even though you will find a sphygmomanometer in a health care setting, you tend not to have one at home – and if you have high blood pressure, which increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, you may want to be able to monitor it without having to make an appointment with a doctor.
Smartphone Blood Glucose Meter
Even if you think your blood pressure is fine, consider this: according to the CDC, one in three adults in America has high blood pressure, called hypertension – but many don’t even know they have it.
In a paper published this week in Science Translational Medicine, a team of researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Maryland made their debut with a new tool to help facilitate blood pressure monitoring at home. They develop sensors that turn smart phones into devices that are able to check a person’s blood pressure.
A name like “sphygmomanometer” might make it sound like the technology needed to determine one’s blood pressure is complicated, but it’s actually quite easy. Researchers only need a way to measure changes in a person’s blood volume (they use optical devices that are not too expensive) and transducers that can detect changes in pressure and convert these changes into electrical signals. The team was then able to print 3D sensors, which work with smartphones.
When smart phone users apply their finger to the sensor, this component physically detects their blood pressure, which can then be interpreted by the algorithm to provide readings. If that all sounds strange, maybe because a lot of fitness trackers use the same optical equipment that the team uses, it’s called photoplethysmography.
Team sensors, and the accompanying smart phone application, can certainly help patients keep an eye on their blood pressure between appointments. But it’s important to remember that using an application is not the same as the blood pressure that you take (and interpret) by a medical professional.
So, for now, it looks like we aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to a tortuous sphygmomanometer.