5 Portable Devices to Track Heart Health
Monitoring your heart health has always been important, but the recent pandemic has put it even more into the spotlight. Those most at risk from COVID-19 have some other health condition, most often hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
Fortunately, medical technology has progressed to the point where there are lots of options for easy-to-use wearable (or easily transportable) medical devices to track all aspects of your heart health. Whether you want to track your heart rate, blood pressure, or even stress levels, there is a device available that can do the job.
Apple Watch / Fitbit
We're combining these two because they are the most popular wearable devices on the market and the ones you're probably most familiar with. When it comes to specifically monitoring your heart health, they both have similar functionality.
Both of these can track your heart's beats per minute, which is especially useful if you are engaging in regular exercise. This will help you maximize your workout while also keeping you from overexerting yourself. Also, they both offer long-term activity monitoring. You can see, at a glance, how active you are over a 7-day period. There's a setting that will remind you to get up and move every once in a while if you've been sitting in one place for too long. Even just getting up and doing a few laps around the house or office throughout the day can keep you healthier.
The latest versions of both watches are also equipped with the ability to conduct an electrocardiogram. With this, both the Apple Watch and Fitbit can check your heart for arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation. This is fantastic for early detection, but is also extremely helpful if you know you have AFib and need to be aware of potential oncoming episodes.
HeartGuide is the #1 physician and pharmacist-recommended blood pressure monitor brand. This sleek wearable looks just like a modern smartwatch and can give you clinically-accurate readings in as little as 30 seconds. Just place the device over your heart and it will show your current blood pressure on a clear, easy-to-read display. Like many of the other products on this list, the HeartGuide has a companion app you can use to keep track of your blood pressure and other vital health information over time. The dashboard is easy to use and is a great way to keep track of your health and fitness. In addition to being able to check your blood pressure from anywhere, the HeartGuide also offers other health-focused features like sleep tracking and fitness monitoring.
The HeartGuide has won numerous awards, including being named one of Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2019. Being the first of its kind doesn't come without a cost, though, as the HeartGuide is also one of the more expensive wearable tech devices out there at $499.
While not technically wearable, AliveCor's KardiaMobile is an EKG reader about the size of a domino. It's easy to slip into a pocket, purse or wallet with no hassle. The EKG reader works with a companion app compatible with virtually any up-to-date smartphone. Users simply open the app, place their fingers on the reader and get a complete readout within 30 seconds. This device is FDA-cleared for the detection of the three most common heart arrhythmias and offers secure cloud storage so you can view your results at any time. You can also choose to share the reports with your doctor so they can keep up with your results as well.
Another portable device, The Pip is even smaller than the KardiaMobile—about the size of a guitar pick. Excess stress can cause hypertension, so having a quick, convenient way to manage your stress is huge. According to the makers of the Pip, "The skin pores on your fingertips are extremely sensitive to changing levels of stress. Pip accurately captures these changes and through biofeedback, allows you to visualize them."
Here's how it works: Users open their computer, tablet or smartphone and go through one of the app's relaxation programs with the Pip in hand. With real-time feedback, the program is able to adapt to how you are feeling and help you manage your stress in a calm, constructive manner. Because it is so small and can work with a smartphone, The Pip can be taken wherever you'll need it, like a doctor's office or the DMV, for example.
iHealth Clear Blood Pressure Monitor
The iHealth Clear Blood Pressure Monitor fits easily into a backpack or purse and uses a traditional blood pressure cuff to take readings. While not as small as the wearable HeartGuide we mentioned earlier, this blood pressure monitor is also about a fifth of the price (about $100 vs. $500).
This blood pressure monitor is great for older users or those with limited eyesight. The bright display lights up green, yellow or red with crystal clear white numbers that are easy to read even in dim lighting. The iHealth Clear has two buttons on the front that allow it to be toggled between two different users, allowing two people to set their own customized profile on the same device, a perfect way for couples to save some money and not have to purchase two devices.
It's important to note that this blood pressure monitor has a companion app available, but doesn't require you to use it. This is a welcome feature for people who just want to know their blood pressure and prefer not to add the complexity of a smartphone app into their health monitoring.
There are a lot of different wearable devices available; this list barely scratches the surface on what is out there. When shopping, keep in mind that many of these devices are specialized and while they may have multiple features, certain ones are better suited for certain tasks than others.
Also, there is an entire category of medical devices that are only available through your doctor. If you're looking for something specific, it's worth consulting your physician to get their recommendation on what you should be using, especially if you can get it through an insurance provider at little to no cost to you.
Awareness and early detection of disease are powerful. At Life Line Screening, our purpose is to help give you ownership of your health by providing awareness of any potential unrecognized problems. If you're ready to get a more complete understanding of your health, click the button below to schedule a screening.