iHealth keeps Track of blood pressure
The Track consists of the controller and the cuff to which it is connected by means of a 55cm long rubber tube. The controller is white in colour and roughly 10cm square, with radiused corners, and is 4.5cm thick. There are two push buttons -- start/stop and Memory/sync -- as well as a 6 x 5cm LCD display. This shows the pulse rate and the two measures of blood pressure -- diastolic and systolic. Captions printed on the body of the controller identify the particular reading. Once the app has been downloaded to one’s smart phone and synced via Bluetooth, the Track also shows date and time.
The app has been designed to work with Bluetooth 4.0 on Apple devices and selected Android smartphones. A note in the user manual points one to a list of compatible phones on the iHealth web site. However, users of Windows 10 will find that they cannot access this site using the Microsoft Edge browser, because of compatibility issues, but will have to switch to, say, Firefox. By the way, all too often, we ignore the provided instructions provided with a product there is useful information in the Track’s User Manual -- especially under the heading “Measuring blood pressure, a few basics” -- that will ensure that one gets meaningful results.
Velcro fastening is used to enable the cuff to fit comfortably around adult arms ranging from 22 to 42cm. It is pale blue in colour and 15cm wide and is overprinted with information showing how it should be aligned on the left upper arm -- 1 or 2cm above the elbow -- and arranged so that a special mark is in alignment with the artery in the arm. The material of the cuff is smooth and does not have any pile for the Velcro hooks to attach themselves to. Pads are therefore sown on to provide the necessary surface for fastening. The overall grip provided is probably more than absolutely necessary.
With the cuff in place, when the Start button is pressed the cuff inflates and pressure is applied to the arm to constrict the blood flow. The pressure is then slowly released and the monitor identifies the systolic and then diastolic pressure point. It then displays them both as well as the pulse rate.
The display’s background colour can be green, amber, flashing amber, red or flashing red according to the whether the actual readings are respectively, according to the World Health Organisation recommendations, optimal/normal, High-normal/Grade 1, Grade 2 or 3 Hypertension.
The Track’s memory can accommodate up to 60 sets of readings each of which consists of the two blood pressure readings and the pulse rate together with the date and time of that reading. Stored readings being displayed, and stepped through by touching the M/sync button. This button is also used to initiate a transfer of the sets of readings currently in the Track, via Bluetooth, to the app on one’s smart phone. With the app installed (and active) on one’s smartphone pressing the M button will synchronise the data by transferring it to the phone so that one will have a convenient history of one’s blood pressure together with the date and time of each reading.
My only (slight) reservation was that the grip of the Velcro was stronger than needed so that an unnecessary amount of force was needed to peel it apart. That caveat apart, I found that it was straightforward to use for individual readings as well as for keeping an ongoing record of one’s blood pressure and, that overall, it appears good value for money.
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