OK so if I’m being completely honest I haven’t had my blood pressure checked since…well…since I was pregnant, and that was like 7 whole years ago! But hey I’m only 38, I eat relatively healthy, I exercise regularly and yes I get a little bit stressed from time to time, but who doesn’t right? Why would I get my blood pressure checked, I feel fine, everything seems to be working as it should, there is surely no need.
I was recently sent a blood pressure monitor to review, that can be connected up to your iPhone or iPad in order for you to track your results and keep an eye on what’s going on inside those veins of yours. So I figured it was about time me and the husband had a little check, ‘cos we’re not exactly getting any younger and it would be good to know everything’s ticking along as it should.
The iHealth Track blood pressure monitor is a clinically validated device that allows you to take your own blood pressure reading from the comfort of your own home. It can be used alone or alongside a smart device when you download the free accompanying iHealth MyVitals app. This app means you can track your results in graph form to give you a visual representation of your blood pressure readings, which over time will give you a much greater understanding of whether there is a concern or not. And one huge benefit of this is that if you are concerned, you can take this data along to your GP, who can then make an assessment themselves. One thing I will say though is that if more than one person is using the monitor, you’ll need to set up an account for each person. This is an easy enough process, you just need separate email addresses, but I think it would have been better if the app allowed multiple users and maybe this is something they will develop in future.
The device is compact, easy to use and comes complete with the following:
- The blood pressure monitor itself
- 1 Armband
- 1 User manual
- 4 AAA batteries
In addition to taking your blood pressure it also measures heart rate and can detect arrhythmia (irregular heart beat patterns).
When trying out the monitor for the first time, I would suggest having someone with you to assist putting it on, as it is ever so slightly fiddly trying to make sure the armband sits in the right place, is tight enough, and that the wire is sitting in the right place. However, having tried it myself a couple of times it does get easier and with a bit of practice it is definitely something you can do yourself.
Once the armband is on, it’s simply a case of switching on the monitor and waiting for it to do its stuff. The armband inflates and constricts as the monitor starts to take your blood pressure, which feels a little uncomfortable but should not be painful. And that’s it; less than a minute and your numbers will come up on the screen along with a background colour that indicates the following:
- Green = Optimal/Normal
- Amber = High-Normal
- Flashing Amber = Grade 1 Hypertension
- Red = Grade 2 Hypertension
- Flashing Red = Grade 3 Hypertension
The instruction booklet that comes with the set includes a chart with the various numbers and which category they fall into. This is all well and good, however I personally felt like I needed more information. Because yes you can see which band you fall into, but what does that actually mean – what do the upper and lower numbers mean?, should I be worried if one is high and one is normal?, what if both numbers aren’t in the same category?, when should I be worried?…so many unanswered questions. It just would have been nice to have a little bit of spiel underneath the chart explaining what a systolic and diastolic number is, what they’re actually measuring and why it’s a concern if they are high. Of course, I’m sure this is information you can find out for yourself if you Google it, but I can’t help feel that if you are buying a product like this, the least they can do is explain things a bit better.
My Blood Pressure Results
First up it’s me, and I’ve got to say I’m starting to worry, because what if something is wrong, what if I’ve been cocky all this time thinking I’m fine and then it turns out I’m not!?!
It’s on the very low side, which I think is good although of course the instruction booklet doesn’t exactly tell me otherwise. I quickly Google “Is it OK to have low blood pressure?” and it seems it’s not too big a deal, but I just need to watch out for signs of feeling faint and dizziness.
Then it’s the hubby’s go…
And this is where it gets confusing, because the top number (systolic) measures up as ‘optimal’, yet the bottom number (diastolic) comes in at the high end of ‘high-normal’, so should he worry?
We both decided to wait ten minutes and then recheck ourselves, just to see if the results were consistent. This time they came out as:
- Me – 90/62 (a slight increase in my diastolic number)
- Hubby – 129/89 (an increase in his systolic number and therefore putting him clearly in the ‘high-normal’ category.
I think he was shocked; he’d had his blood pressure checked at the doctors not that long ago and it had been fine, and I explained to him that this probably wasn’t anything to be concerned about. But that right there is what makes having a product like this at home so worthwhile. He has a follow up appointment, for an ongoing concern, with his GP next week, and he will now also mention this and ask them to take his blood pressure whilst he’s there. It’s not a concern now, but it’s definitely something I know he will now keep an eye on, because it could potentially develop into a much bigger problem in the future.
None of us are immune to this. Don’t for one minute think that just because you’re young, fit, you eat well, you regularly exercise etc., that you won’t have high blood pressure. Unless you check it you might never know, and then it might be too late.
This is a great product to have at home, which you can use on a weekly basis to keep track of your blood pressure. Please remember that if you have any concerns about your health, no matter how seemingly insignificant you may think they are, to contact your GP for further checks and advice.
You can find out more about the iHealth Track blood pressure monitor over on the iHealth website.
*Product gifted for review.