Huawei's Watch D, a new blood pressure smartwatch, on sale in NZ on July 14 for $749

Regular blood pressure monitoring can help lower the risk of NZ's second biggest killer.
Regular blood pressure monitoring can help lower the risk of NZ's second biggest killer. Photo credit: Supplied / Huawei

Huawei has unveiled its new Watch D in Aotearoa, which brings blood pressure measurement and ECG functionality together in a smartwatch for the first time.

It will be available here from Thursday, July 14 and will have an RRP of $749.

Experts here have hailed the move by the Chinese technology giants as a potential breakthrough in the early identification of stroke risks, which remains a massive killer in New Zealand.

According to charity The Stroke Foundation, strokes are New Zealand's second single biggest killer and the leading cause of serious adult disability.

Over 9500 strokes are experienced by Kiwis each year - that works out to one every 55 minutes. It's also predicted to rise by around 40 percent over the next decade as the population increases, gets older and lives longer. 

According to statistics from the charity, over 75 percent of strokes are preventable, so ways of delivering risk awareness can be critical to saving thousands of lives.

The Watch D has a mini-pump to measure blood pressure accurately, the company said. A narrow airbag strap uses an oscillograph to do so, while the wearer holds their hand level with the heart and stays still.

The TruBP measurement algorithm builds on six years of work and more than 20 algorithm patients. The data has been verified against over 15,000 sets of human data, Huawei said. 

Regular monitoring of blood pressure can lead to identification of trends and help the earlier identification of diseases like hypertension.

Hypertension is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide with billions of people needing close monitoring of blood pressure, along with long-term medication, to help keep the body in check.

The high-resolution pressure sensor, feedback pressure control circuit and low-flow airway of the Watch D allows users to measure their blood pressure anytime and anywhere.

Like other smartwatches on the market, from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Fitbit, the watch also comes with heart rate measurement and ECG functionality.

The sensor module supports the recording of ECG data and produces ECG reports. It also features ECG monitoring that prompts the user to perform ECG measurements as soon as an abnormal heart rate is detected.

Also included are smartwatch standards like SpO2 monitoring, stress monitoring and a range of workouts to accurately track exercise and effort.

Wearers will also get a sleep breakdown if they wear the watch overnight and can expect, with normal usage, up to seven days of battery life, which is generally longer than similar watches from major manufacturers.

As well as the breakthrough Watch D, Huawei also revealed two other models going on sale on Thursday, July 14.

The entry level Band 7, the company's thinnest smart band to date, will cost $129 and boasts a 14-day battery life.

The Watch Fit 2, which more resembles a traditional smartwatch and has GPS built in, will cost $269.

From The Stroke Foundation

High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and is often called the 'silent killer' as it can remain undetected. Many New Zealanders don't check their blood pressure regularly due to the cost of attending their health provider and/or barriers to access health services.

The Stroke Foundation works to remove these barriers by running two mobile clinics that provide over 10,000 free blood pressure checks each year. If people have high readings, they are referred to their health provider for further support.

We refer approximately 3 percent of the people we see directly to hospital due to critically high readings, and a further 30 percent have elevated readings requiring further investigation. Find out more about this free service here.