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Blood Pressure Device
According to research conducted on behalf of the National Health Service (NHS), around 25% of the UK adult population suffer from high blood pressure often without them realising that they have the condition. High blood pressure can occur as the result of smoking, poor diet and the lack of regular exercise. I plead guilty to two of these. The condition of high blood pressure has been known to increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and dementia.
A second survey, this time conducted by LloydsPharmacy and covering 19,181 of the company’s customers, revealed that high blood pressure issues could be more endemic that was previously thought. This survey indicated 90% of those tested had a higher-than-healthy rating score with 54% being classified as having high blood pressure. Regular instances of blood pressure testing can give an indication as to whether or not you fall into danger areas. These tests can be carried out during visits to the doctors or hospital and also through the use of personal testing devices such as the Braun ActivScan 9 product which is the subject matter of this review.
Unlike some other blood pressure products I have looked at in the past, the Braun product consists of the cuff unit and a separate display unit providing visual feedback as to the current activity and resulting information that is gathered. The cuff unit, which needs to be wrapped around the arm at about 2 – 3 cm above the elbow, features a spring-loaded pinch-to-open storage facility and links to the display unit via a 98 cm rubber coated lead. A third element of this kit, not included in the box, is the Braun Healthy Heart app which is available as a free download from the App Store or Google Play depending upon the smartphone being used. This app links to the blood pressure unit via a Bluetooth connection. Unlike many Bluetooth connections I have encountered, this particular one is activated from the blood pressure display unit rather than the smartphone to which it is partnered.
The display unit is powered by four AA supplied batteries. The unit’s inverted L-shaped design allows the display unit to be positioned in a sloping upright stance when displaying its information. This display element will need to be set up prior to use. You are guided through screens to enter the time and date plus enter a user name. The blood pressure monitor’s non-volatile memory can handle two different users with each one having up to 200 entries. While animated instructions regarding the required steps to be carried out during a blood pressure procedure, can be viewed, this feature can be turned off if no longer required. These instructions include the correct placement and attachment of the cuff.
The designs of other blood pressure monitor I have looked at, are such that they were meant to be used on other people. With both hands free they were easy to fit. But I usually struggle when attempting to fit one on myself one-handed. This is not the case with the Braun device. While the pinch-to-open feature of the cuff provides a storage type facility, it also makes for a far easier task when positioning the cuff on your arm. You simply need to pinch-to-open and clip the cuff on your arm just above the elbow.
The display unit, with touch screen capability, makes good use of icons to identify tasks such as taking a reading, history, users, reports and Bluetooth pairing plus colours to indicate whether the recorded blood pressure is normal, mild, moderate or high. Data can be viewed through a Calendar facility, by average using a number of readings, and how results have change over a period of time.
Using the Braun Healthily Heart app, feedback can be provided of individual readings showing Systolic (measured pressure when the heart is contracting) and Diastolic ( pressure measured when the heart is relaxed). A separate screen allows you to make adjustments to slider bars representing diet, exercise, mood and sleep. Other app options include targeting data via a calendar feature and the ability to set reminders.
I was impressed by the ease-of-use and functionality offered by the Braun ActivScan 9 blood pressure monitor but it is not a replacement for the service offered by a doctor or hospital visit. This device should be used in conjunction with professional medical assistance rather than instead of it. The product is available from Boots where the Braun ActivScan 9 blood pressure monitor is priced at £149.99.
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