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Watch Your Blood Pressure
According to recent research conducted on behalf of the National Health Service (NHS), an estimated 25% of the UK adult population suffer from hypertension, often without realising the fact. High blood pressure or hypertension can be caused as the result of smoking, poor diet and the lack of exercise. It has been known to raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and dementia.
A separate survey conducted by LloydsPharmacy, covering 19,181 of the company’s customers, revealed that the problem could be even more endemic as 90% of the participants in this survey had a higher-than- healthy score when tested. Of those, 54% were officially classified as having high blood pressure. I have to count myself among these numbers and I am often advised to drink more liquids to help alleviate the condition.
While regular checks on blood pressure when you make visits to the doctors or hospital, you can also take readings of your own blood pressure in the convenience of your own home or anywhere should the opportunity arise. Several products are available for checking your own blood pressure. One such product is the Nokia Compact Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor.
This device, like similar devices, works in conjunction with the appropriate app. In the case of the Nokia device, this is the Nokia Health Mate™ app. This particular app is used by some other brands of health devices and will need to be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for installation on your smartphone.
With its matte silver appearance, the blood pressure monitor unit consists of an adjustable cuff strap which is wrapped around the arm during the reading process. Attached to the cuff is a fairly weighty cylindrical tube that measures 154mm contains the mechanics of the device plus four AAA batteries supplying the power required for the tightening of the cuff and transmission of the data to the smartphone. A small on/off button on the top of the tube allows for the power to be turned on/off as required.
The Health Mate™ app, which is used by some other devices including the Withings watch, will need to pair with the Nokia monitor device. This process, which does require that permission is granted to detect location, can be rather time consuming depending upon the Android handset being used to make the connection.
For example a Huawei P8 handset breezed through the process of detection and set up, including the updating on the Nokia monitor, with the minimum of fuss. On the other hand a Wiley Fox handset was only able to recognise the PBM+ device and was still struggling 30 minutes later to establish a connection. This handset failed on more than one occasion to make a connection to the monitor. Eventually a connection was established but it could hardly be considered user-friendly.
Once an established connection is achieved between the blood pressure monitor and smartphone, you will need to set up a free account through the submission of an email address and password details plus the usual need to accept terms and conditions along with giving Nokia permission to process your data. As part of a lengthy automatic configuration process you can opt for regular or auto type measurement. With the latter, three readings are carried out, with a 30 second gap between them, before you are presented with an average reading of your heart rate and blood pressure.
The Health Mate™ app can handle a number of devices and report back on the feedback it receives from whichever is the currently chosen device. Icons, running across the bottom of the screen, allow you to switch pages dealing with Home, Custom, Programs, Devices and Personal pages.
Attaching the blood pressure monitor does require a little expertise by the wearer. When the task is carried out by a doctor or nurse, the process is straightforward as they can use both hands to apply the device. However if you are on your own then the operation is not so simple as it needs to be carried out one-handed, The procedure is not helped by the weighty tube as you struggle to wrap and position the monitor on the relevant part of your arm. As you are recommended to sit quietly for five minutes before testing is carried out, I would suggest that the restful period should follow, rather than precede, the attachment process of the monitor so that readings are not affected by any frustration caused by attaching the device.
I have included some of the readings I achieved with this product. Bear in mind that I do have an irregular heart beat which could affect the figures.
|Time||Heart rate||Blood Pressure||Measurement type|
|12.38||83bpm||120 / 80||Regular|
|12.44||71bpm||115 / 79||Regular|
|14.30||82bpm||124 / 85||Auto|
A quick check of the Internet revealed that Amazon has this blood pressure monitor priced at £109.95.
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