If you own a Samsung smartwatch, then you can now take blood pressure measurements from the wrist.
Users with a Galaxy Watch 3 or an Active 2 can now access the feature. It wasn’t available at launch, but with approval in the US and Europe – and a rollout onto the Active 2 via a big update – both devices can now take blood pressure readings and ECG.
The first step is calibration with a dedicated blood pressure cuff – so you can’t just slap the smartwatch on your wrist and go.
Once that’s done you can then take readings that will give you an insight into your current cardiovascular health.
While it will no doubt appeal to hypertension sufferers, Samsung states that this cannot diagnose hypertension or other conditions like heart attacks, so that’s something to keep in mind here.
How does Samsung blood pressure work?
It generates the blood pressure measurement by using pulse wave analysis. This is achieved by using the onboard sensors used to generate heart rate data. With that data, Samsung can analyse the relationship between the value taken from calibration reading and the blood pressure change to determine your blood pressure.
The feature is being turned on for compatible smartwatches alongside Samsung’s ECG feature, which has now being rolled out in many more countries.
We’ve tried it out so pulled together this guide on what you need, how to get it set up and how to take that first blood pressure measurement on your Samsung smartwatch.
Which Samsung smartwatches can measure blood pressure?
Like Samsung’s ECG feature, this is only currently available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 smartwatches as they have the support to run the software and apps needed to activate it.
It’s also important to note that you need to have a Samsung smartphone running Android 7.0 or above to download the necessary software on the phone side of things to make it all work. Sorry Android and iPhone owners.
1. Get all of your apps and Samsung Galaxy Watch updated
If you’ve read our guide on how to take an ECG reading on a Samsung Galaxy Watch, a lot of things here we talk about will sound very familiar.
Ultimately, you need to make sure that you have the Samsung Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Health and Samsung Health Monitor apps on phone and watch all up to date.
STEP 1: First, go to the Samsung Galaxy Wearable phone app, head to the Home screen, scroll down to Watch software update. and tap to select. If you see the option to download and install an update, you’ll be able to see if this is the one you need by reading the update notes.
STEP 2: Your next job is to head to the Samsung Galaxy App store, search for the Samsung Health app and check to see if you have the latest version too. You’ll know if you haven’t if it gives you the option to update.
STEP 3: Once that’s done, head back to the Galaxy App Store and also download the Samsung Health Monitor phone app as well.
2. Calibrate Samsung Galaxy Watch
Now that you have everything on the watch that you need. Let’s get into how to actually take a reading. The first thing you’re going to need to do is calibrate it with a blood pressure monitor. Ideally, Samsung suggests using one that sits on your upper arm to get the most reliable results.
Step 1: Open the Samsung Health Monitor app on your phone and tap the blood pressure tab.
Step 2: You’ll be prompted to calibrate the watch with a cuff-based blood pressure monitor. In this example, we’ve used a Kinetik advanced blood pressure monitor.
Step 3: Next, get the blood pressure monitor cuff in place on your arm. Make sure you’re sitting down, relaxed and you have your arm positioned level with your heart
Step 4: Place your Samsung smartwatch on the wrist opposite to the one you’re wearing the blood pressure monitor cuff.
Step 5: When prompted on the app, start the blood pressure monitor and then the watch will start doing its own measuring seconds later. It takes around 30 seconds to take a reading.
Step 6: When reading is completed, you’ll be asked to manually add in the data from the blood pressure monitor into the Samsung Health Monitor app. It will be two numbers you’ll need to input.
Step 7: You’ll need to repeat this process three times in total before you can take the cuff off.
3. Take a blood pressure reading on Samsung Galaxy Watch
Once that calibration process above is completed, you can go to the Samsung Health Monitor app on your watch or use the dedicated widget to take a measurement.
It will take 30 seconds to take a measurement, and much like taking an on the spot heart rate measurement, you should ideally be sitting down, relaxed, with your arm on a flat surface like a table and the watch sat snug on your wrist. This will ensure you get a more accurate reading.
Samsung also suggests that you conduct the calibration process every four weeks to ensure you’re getting the most reliable blood pressure data recorded in the Health Monitor app
What can you do with your blood pressure data?
When you take a reading, this will be synced to the Samsung Health Monitor phone app. Here you can view your most recent reading and your history over a day, week or month.
That’s really about it at the moment, though no doubt Samsung will have ideas on how it can do more with this blood pressure data or even how it can reduce the time you need to spend with a blood pressure cuff to calibrate it.
Samsung blood pressure supported countries
Samsung has had to get approval for its Samsung Health Monitor app, which covers its ECG and blood pressure measurement features.
That approval exists in Korea, the US and a host of countries in Europe. That includes:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Samsung is also aiming to have the feature enabled in the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Chile.
So with smartwatch in hand, blood pressure monitor nearby and a compatible smartphone, here’s what you need to do to get measuring.