Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. The higher your readings the greater your risk of developing narrowed arteries which can lead to heart problems, kidney disease and strokes.
Your healthcare provider will want an accurate picture of the situation inside your arteries. One measurement taken at the doctor’s office is like a snapshot. However, readings can very thought the day which makes a record of your blood pressure over time all the more important.
Essential reading: A roundup of leading smart blood pressure monitors
Luckily, there is an increasing number of connected blood pressure monitors which make tracking your readings a breeze. The iHealth Blood Pressure Dock is one of the first devices of its kind, setting the stage for mobile, at-home blood pressure monitoring.
The monitor comes from Xiaomi, often called the Apple of the East. iHealth Labs is a US venture run China-based company that is focused on health and fitness products, as the name suggests. Xiaomi has stepped up investments into its US affiliate in recent years, which means we are likely to see it make more products from iHealth in the future.
The iHealth Blood Pressure Dock is a smart Bluetooth device that works with any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to help health conscious individuals track their blood pressure and heart rate. The device consists of the Smart Blood Pressure Dock, an inflatable cuff and a USB charging cable. Measuring ( L x W x H ): 11.50 x 11.50 x 6.50 cm, the dock is fairly compact.
Using the device is very simple. Connect the white plastic circular dock to your computer via the Micro USB charging cable, and either wait for the device to recharge, or start using right away while the dock is charging. If you let it charge, you can unplug the device and use it anywhere you want. Because it has a 2200mAH built-in battery, it can be fully charged in less than half an hour. On full charge, and with normal use, it should last for an entire month.
The light blue cuff can support an arm circumference of between 22- and 36cm. Wrap it around your arm, just above the elbow, and Velcro it in place. Insert the grey rubber tube into the hole on the left side of the iHealth dock.
Before using for the first time, launch Google Play or the App Store on your phone or tablet, then download the free iHealth MyVitals app. The app will take you through the simple set-up process. If you already have an account, its a matter of simply logging in. If not, answer a few basic questions and the app will quickly set up your account. All very seamless.
To record a blood pressure measurement launch the MyVitals app and click on the blood pressure option. Make sure your cuff is roughly at the level of your heart, otherwise the readings can be distorted. This is typically around 2cm from your elbow. For correct position you can refer to the instructions that are printed on the armband.
Once you are ready, click on the large circular blue Start button in the smartphone MyVitals app. Sit back and relax while the app does the rest. The arm band will begin to fill with air and tighten around your arm. If it becomes uncomfortable, next time do not wrap is as tight. Once it has finished the app will show you three figures: your systolic blood pressure, your diastolic blood pressure and your pulse, along with a pulse-wave graph. The app will also tell you whether your readings are in the healthy range.
Essential reading: Compare blood pressure monitors (interactive tool)
You can count on its accuracy and reliability. This monitor has received FDA approval in the US, CE compliance in Europe, TGA approval in Australia and Health Canada approval. The cuff measures using the oscillometric method, with automatic inflation up to pressure levels of 295mmHg, measurement ranges of 45-250mmHg, and with an accuracy of ±3mmHg. Pulse range is 40-180 beats per minute with an accuracy of ±5%.
The MyVitals app has a very simple interface and is easy to use. It will automatically keeps a history of your data and you have the option to share your information with your doctor or caregiver. The List tab allows you to see all your readings. You can also use the Trends tab to see graphs of recent, weekly, monthly and yearly data for your blood pressure and pulse.
Home blood pressure monitors can sometimes be expensive or difficult to use. Perhaps the iHealth Blood Pressure Dock does not come with the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but this is a device which makes taking and keeping track of your blood pressure incredibly easy. And all for a very low price – less than $40.
Xiaomi iHealth Smart Blood Pressure Dock
Once you familiarise yourself with the monitor, it should only take you a couple of minutes to take a blood pressure reading. We were very impressed with the quality of this device, and the simplicity of the process. Which is exactly what you want from a blood pressure monitor.
Having high blood pressure can kill you, and keeping tabs on it is hugely important. A device such as this one can be a life saver.
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