8 High-Tech Gadgets to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Last Updated: Feb 04, 2015
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Your heart beats 100,000 times a day, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your hard-working ticker. In addition to being active, hitting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week and keeping the lid on sodium and fat in your diet, new heart-monitoring gadgets can also give you feedback on your heart’s health in real time. The following are cardiologist- and expert-recommended devices for tracking your heart health and related vitals.
ALIVECOR HEART MONITOR
Keep tabs on any abnormal heart rhythms with the AliveCor heart monitor. This sensor plugs into your smartphone and provides an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading of your heart. “This can be useful in patients who have arrhythmia, palpitations or just those folks that want to learn more about their physiology and heart’s electrical system,” says Brian C. Kolski, M.D., board-certified cardiologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. “It’s also very easy to use.” With the accompanying app, you can also record your medications, caffeine and alcohol consumption or sleep and exercise habits so you can zero in on what might be causing any irregular heartbeats. PRICE: $74.99
Find out more about the AliveCor Heart Monitor.
Wear this device on your wrist for EKG-accurate heart-rate data without having to wear a chest strap. MioFuse also tracks your daily steps, pace, distance and calories. Just connect it to your iPhone or Android phone or sync it to your GPS watch or favorite apps like MapMyRun, Strava or Wahoo. “It’s excellent for those athletic people and patients interested in interval training,” says cardiologist Brian C. Kolski. “This wristband has an optical sensor for tracking heart rate -- the single most important variable when training or exercising.” The display on the band updates with your real-time heart rate so you know just how hard you’re working during your sweat session. PRICE: $149.00
Find out more about the MioFuse.
RESMED S+ SLEEP SENSOR
Analyze and improve your sleep with personalized feedback from a device that doesn’t even have to be in contact with your skin. The S+ monitors your breathing and movement while you sleep and syncs with your smartphone or tablet. “People don’t realize how important sleep patterns and habits are to overall health and fitness,” says cardiologist Brian C. Kolski. The bedside sensor uses this nightly data and formulates feedback on environmental factors and sleep quality, and within a few nights of using it people report feeling much more rested. PRICE: $149.99
Find out more about the ResMed S+ sleep sensor.
WITHINGS PULSE 02 ACTIVITY TRACKER
Most wearable devices on the market measure your steps, distance and calories burned, and some can even measure sleep and heart rate. The Withings Pulse O2 measures all that plus your blood oxygen level. It can be worn on your clothes, attached to a wristband or hidden in your pocket. “It’s essentially a scale that can help with environment, body composition, etc.,” says cardiologist Brian C. Kolski. Measuring your blood oxygen level can help you assess the overall efficiency of your cardiovascular system during and after a workout. PRICE: $119.95
Find out more about the Withings Pulse 02 Activity Tracker.
When you go to the doctor’s office, the nurse takes your vitals. So does the Scanadu Scout. Place the device on your forehead for an instant readout of your temperature, heart rate, blood oxygenation and more. It analyzes, tracks and trends your vitals -- including your systolic and diastolic blood pressure -- in 10 seconds. The device isn’t meant to replace your doctor, obviously, but you can use the results to share with your doctor and spark conversations about your health. Currently, the device is pending FDA approval, but you can sign up for email updates on their website to find out when it will be widely available.
Find out more about the Scanadu Scout.
IHEALTH WIRELESS PULSE OXIMETER
Sure, the device looks a bit like what they put on your finger in the hospital, but that’s the point. This wireless device clips on your finger and provides an instant readout of your blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2) and pulse rate. SpO2 refers to the concentration of oxygen in the blood. Normal levels are between 95 and 100 percent. Ninety to 95 percent is low but not usually seen as a health issue, but concentrations below 90 percent may indicate hypoxemia, sleep apnea, asthma or other problems requiring a visit to the doctor. PRICE: $69.95
Find out more about the iHealth Wireless Pulse Oximeter.
OMRON 10 SERIES BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR
Tracking your blood pressure at home comes in handy if your BP tends to run high in your doctor’s office. Known as “white-coat hypertension,” anxiety when at the doctor’s office can give a temporary, false higher reading and a misdiagnosis of hypertension. Charting your readings throughout the day can help your doctor figure out if the in-office reading is correct. Omron’s 10 Series upper-arm blood pressure monitor has been clinically proven accurate and can store up to 200 readings. Plus, the large screen is easy to read and provides indicator lights to let you know if your reading is within the normal range. PRICE: $79.99
Find out more about Omron 10 Series Blood Pressure Monitor.
Available for Android/Bluetooth or iPhone, Tinke measures your fitness and stress via heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation and heart rate variability. Rest your thumb on the sensor to receive a reading within 30 to 60 seconds. Once you connect it to the app, you’ll also get two compilation scores. Your Vita index takes into account your heart rate, blood oxygen level and respiratory rate and calibrates it based on your gender and age. Your Zen Index gives you an idea of how stressed you are and shows you how to focus on your breathing patterns to reduce your stress levels. PRICE: $129.00
Find out more about Tinke.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you ever tracked your vitals at home? Which device(s) did you use? Have you ever used any of these devices to check your heart health? What did you think? What else do you do to make sure you’re keeping your heart healthy? Let us know in the comments section below!
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