I’m a stats kind of guy. I like to see the numbers on something and learn to figure out what they mean. For example, I have a Withings Wi-Fi scale that posts my weight to a secure website via Wi-Fi every time I step on the cursed thing. I can log onto the site on my computer or use the iPhone App and see the complete results in chart form.
Why in the world would you want to see such a thing you might ask? I had my yearly physical a few weeks ago and my doctor accused me of gaining some weight over previous years. I hauled my handy iPhone out and showed him that I was sick last time he weighed me and had lost some weight but that the weight had hardly deviated in years.
Withings’ new Blood Pressure Monitor similarly allows users to keep track of their blood pressure statistics (systolic, diastolic and heart rate). Where this becomes useful is if you’re looking at trends, so you can easily access the information on every time you’ve used the cuff – all in one spot.
If you’re monitoring your blood pressure at home, you should first talk to your doctor about it. The device is just a tool that must be used appropriately in order to give accurate information – and that’s what it does; provide information. Don’t self diagnose.
Having said that, I have two blood pressure monitors at home – one from Omron, one of the best names on the market, and the other; the Withings BP Monitor. The readings from one device to the other are virtually the same, but the Withings monitor is a lot easier to use and offers more useful ways of getting the information out of the device.
The Withings BP Monitor is very simple to set up and use. You download the free Withings Health Companion App to your iOS device – it only works with iPods, iPhones and iPads at this point. You don’t actually need to download the App, if it’s not on your iOS device, it’ll automatically go get it from the App Store for you. Once that’s done, plug the 30-pin adapter into your iDevice. I’m sure that Withings will come out with a Lightening adapter in the near future, but until then, if you’re an iPhone 5 user, you’ll need to buy the 30-pin to Lightening adapter from Apple. The Withings BP monitor runs on 4 – AAA batteries, which come installed. I’ve been using my test version every day for two weeks and the battery metre still shows full strength, so they last. Replacing them is as simple as unscrewing the end of the device and replacing them.
Users can share the data collected via e-mail or Twitter or Facebook, although frankly, I would never send out my weight and BP info. out on Twitter or Facebook. The real plus here is that you can include your doctor’s e-mail address and shoot the latest measurements or your entire Dashboard of information directly from the App on your iDevice or from your computer.
Data access is the big deal with this device. Being able to provide your doctor with a chart of the last “X” number of times you’ve read your blood pressure is invaluable. It tells you the day and time the reading was taken and allows comments to be put in by the user. For example, my blood pressure was a little high today, so I put that I had taken decongestants and too much coffee in the comments field – a nice way to help to explain blips.
The Withings BP Monitor is available for under $130 CAD through the Canadian Apple Store, or Best Buy, to name several resellers. You can easily check out all the technical information on the Withings BP Monitor on their website.
PROS: Easy to set up and use; the App offers lots of customization and the ability to e-mail results directly to someone; reasonable cost; no more writing BP results on a piece of paper and then losing it.
CONS: Have to use a 30-pin adapter, so difficult with an iPhone 5; only works with iOS devices, would be nice if the device itself used Wi-Fi, like the Withings scale does.
TO SUM IT UP: To be able to keep track of daily blood pressure readings in an easy to read format that can simply be sent to a physician or viewed on a computer or iDevice makes the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor a good buy. Simple to set up and easy to use, the monitor can be a valuable tool in health care.