I had a relatively healthy pregnancy for someone who, at the time, was almost 100 pounds overweight (not including the weight I added while I was pregnant). But toward the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure climbed dangerously high. In my last trimester, I had weekly stress tests to keep a close eye on our baby, and I was sent to the hospital a week before my due date to induce labor because my pregnancy-induced hypertension had caused my blood pressure to rise to 170/100 – well beyond normal.
So as I began losing weight, one metric I tracked regularly was my blood pressure. It was satisfying to see my blood pressure drop from a high that nearly required medication to a normal, healthy range. But blood pressure monitors are typically bulky, cumbersome and awkward to use, and keeping track of your stats over time can be a pain. Enter iHealth.
I was provided an Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor from iHealth to review, and is fast becoming one of my favorite health tools. The device, which retails for $79 at Best Buy and Apple stores, is light and portable.
The iHealth companion app syncs to the wrist monitor via Bluetooth and vividly displays your most recent blood pressure reading. It also keeps historical logs of your blood pressure readings so you can see trends over time, and you can manually enter metrics like your weight (or easily record them digitally via iHealth’s other products). Setup is easy; after creating an iHealth account, pair your monitor with the app, slide it onto your wrist and press “start.”
The app guides you through positioning your arm and the wrist monitor for an accurate reading, and you can see you heart rate in real time as the monitor takes its measurement. Once the measurement is complete, a handy color-coded chart blinks to show you whether your blood pressure is in a healthy or elevated range (since I can’t seem to sit still, all my measurements were on the high side).
The iHealth wrist monitor charges via USB, so it doesn’t have the bulk of dealing with standard batteries. And a battery level reading in the iHealth app lets you know when your wrist monitor needs a charge.
Heart disease is the cause of 1 in 4 deaths in the United States today, and taking regular blood pressure readings is a simple and easy step to keep track of your heart health and preventing the onset of a more serious heart disease. iHealth also has some simple keys to maintaining your heart health:
- Know your blood pressure: High blood pressure often has no symptoms, which is why it is also referred to as the “silent killer.” By checking your blood pressure regularly at home, you have a greater chance of maintaining healthy blood pressure or getting it under control.
- Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and help lower your blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke: Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet: Determine your healthy weight range and choose healthy foods to help you avoid heart disease.
Using mobile technology available on the market today, the population can be armed with tools that help track, control and prevent this disease.