The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends "screening….yearly or more frequently for adults with a history of high blood pressure or prehypertension." But who says you have to visit the doctor's office to get an accurate reading? The $99.95 iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor (BPM) can help the more than one-third of Americans who have high blood pressure keep better tabs on their health.
Design and Setup
The iHealth BPM is comprised of a small white hemispherical iOS dock that measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.6 inches. To it, you connect a familiar inflatable blood pressure arm cuff via a plug-in rubber tube.
After you download the free iHealth BPM app from the App Store and perch your iOS device onto the dock, push the big yellow "Start" button, and the cuff inflates automatically. In 25 seconds, you'll get your systolic (the big number) over diastolic (the small number) readings, plus your pulse rate.
iHealth Labs says the monitor has received certification from the influential Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) [http://www.aami.org/] and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) [http://www.cen.eu/cen/pages/default.aspx]. We knew our readings from our last checkup, and iHealth's reading were right on the mark. Several readings taken over a series of days - far more frequently than necessary - confirmed these readings.
The app saves all your readings in History, and can be viewed in a chart or even posted on Facebook, Twitter or sent via email.
iHealth's dock charges via USB in about 90 minutes, although it would be nice if the manual included any charging instructions or how many readings you can make from a single battery charge. But the app does provide a battery level when your iDevice is connected to the dock.
Perhaps the best part of the iHealth BPM isn't the device but the included FAQ, which includes basic information about the nature of blood pressure, interpreting different readings, causes and health problems associated with high blood pressure and advice for dealing with elevated levels. And you can get all this without even buying the iHealth dock, since the app is free.
Even if you're not a hypochondriac, the iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor is kind of a comfort - you can check your blood pressure anytime you want. The iHealth dock accommodates all iOS devices, including the new iPad, and is remarkably easy to use for a medical device. For those who need to keep track of their vitals, it can't be beat.