February is National Heart Month in both the US and the UK, which aims to raise awareness of the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for a number of cardiovascular conditions, from cardiac arrest and heart failure to stroke and damaged arteries.
In response to this, medical device manufactures are developing an increasing number of smart blood pressure monitoring devices for hypertension patients, especially those with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
One of the key issues in ensuring that these devices are used by patients is educating them about what blood pressure is and how it can be monitored. Some people wrongly assume that it can be tested via a blood test or can be inferred from a cholesterol reading.
Accuracy is another challenge when developing technology for people with diabetes because high levels of glucose can lead to a hardening of the arteries, making it more difficult to obtain an accurate blood pressure reading.
According to the International Society of Hypertension, high blood pressure is the number one contributing risk factor for deaths worldwide, with 10 million people dying annually as a result of undiagnosed or untreated hypertension and this is especially problematic amongst those with diabetes.
In light of the rapid technological developments over the last few years, there has been a lot of innovation within the industry. This has resulted in quicker, smaller and more powerful devices, which can help to fill healthcare gaps as well as enhancing the service provided to patients. However, one of the future challenges will be dealing with the large amounts of data generated by these in an effective way.