Since 2013, I have been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy.
Home blood pressure monitoring is something I do on a regular basis. About a year ago I purchased a Medisana wrist based monitor, this despite the fact that the American Heart Association discourages these types of wrist based blood pressure monitors due to their inaccuracy!
Nevertheless, the price and reviews were right and I was confident I could overcome the inaccuracy risks by simply using the device as recommended by the manufacturer.
Figure 1 shows a screenshot of my recent BP readings in iPhone’s Health app. Look closely and you will see my BP readings over the past month, including multiple readings for April 1. The high reading on April 1 was 153/99 mmHg. This represents an all-time high for me and by far. Was I at risk for hypertension or was something else going on here?
A quick visit to my local pharmacy’s upper arm-based blood pressure monitor resulted in a more respectable 124/82 mmHg blood pressure reading. This confirmed my suspicion that my wrist-based monitor had gone out of whack. I took a few more readings at the pharmacy over the course of the day and then another one in the evening using my wrist-based monitor and the verdict was in – my wrist-based monitor was playing an April Fools joke by inflating my readings by over 20%!