New Trend – The Personal Testing Kit

The new trend in personal health monitors is the personal testing kit, according to the latest Global Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor Market Report from Research and Markets. In addition, some manufacturers are bundling two or more products together.

Omron HEM-712C Blood Pressure MonitorThe report states:

Vendors in the global ambulatory blood pressure monitor market are adopting product bundling strategies, where two or more products or services are combined to achieve product differentiation and to provide better product offerings. Moreover, patients prefer such packaged offerings to individual products as they are cost-effective.

Thus, vendors are offering cuffs along with blood pressure monitors and other accessories that customers need when monitoring their blood pressure level. Moreover, vendors have started introducing personal testing kits that have blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, thermometers, and pulse oximeters, and these are becoming popular across the globe.

Mixed Reviews for Smart Phone Breathalyzer App

breathometerThe Breathometer A01 Smartphone Breathalyzer for IOS and Android is getting a mixed reception, according to reviews at Amazon.

The Breathometer is a device that attaches to a smart phone or tablet, and measures a user’s breath alcohol content. A free app processes this information. It got its start after seeking financing from crowd-funding sites.

It currently has more than 40 customer reviews at Amazon, but with an average rating of just three stars.

Here is a five-star review:

I couldn’t be happier! I have learned a great deal using this product with my iPhone 5 over the last couple of weeks. The results it has given me have even caused me to not drive on one occasion. It is small and compact, well built, and can easily be shared since you make no actual contact with it (simply exhale into the device from an inch or so away). While it’s great to get my BAC estimates, the best part of the product is the additional in app features it has. Once it gives my BAC, it also estimates how long it will take for me to get back to 0.00, stores my activity, and also has a call a cab feature that locates nearby cab companies for a safe alternative to driving home.

I highly recommend for those who consume purely based on the education it gave me. That, in addition to its cool factor, I will likely give as a gift to others in the future.

And a two-star review:

I have tried on several occasions to use this device. I tried using it after one drink, blew a .02. Then I had a second drink, blew a .02 again. Hmm… After three drinks, I blew a 0.09, then tried again quickly after and it gave me a .04. I followed the directions properly, I even had a friend try it for me. Same thing happened with him. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong, but the app on the iPhone is pretty straightforward, so I can’t imagine what.

It retails for $49.99, but you should find it cheaper at Amazon.

And check out a review at Mashable for a similar device, the Alcohoot. The summary:

The Good

Conversation-starter • Sleek design • Easily accessible.

The Bad

An investment (more than $100) • Questionable utility • May require you to remove your phone from its case.

The Bottom Line

The Alcohoot was fun, intuitive and certainly enlightening for people interested in making the most of their own personal data.

The New Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

Withings-Wireless-Blood-Pressure-MonitorSome good reports for the new Withings wireless blood pressure monitor, which has just been released.

According to Geeky Gadgets:

Previously the wired Withings Blood Pressure Monitor only supported iOS devices via a wire connection, but since the addition of the new Bluetooth connectivity users with either device can now wirelessly monitor and track their blood pressure with ease.

And the company says:

Simply slip on the cuff, turn on the Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor and the Health Mate app will automatically launch. Position your arm properly and you’re now ready to take your blood pressure.

The app gives you an instant color feedback based on the National Health Institute standards for a quick and simple grasp of your measurements.

The app stores all your readings, syncs with the Withings Health Cloud and displays an easy to understand chart. Visualize your stats on your iPhone, iPod touch or Android device as well as on your online dashboard on your Mac or PC. The data is always backed up so you’ll never have to worry about losing your prior measurements.

An Activity Monitor Without The Overwhelming Bells And Whistles

Omron HJA-312 Activity MonitorA good review for the Omron HJA-312 activity monitor from the McClatchy-Tribune News Service:

Has the features you need without all of the overwhelming bells and whistles. Tracking all physical activity, including everything from housework to running, the HJA-312 provides a better overall picture of how your movement corresponds with your weight loss goals. You can see how many calories you burn for each activity and get up-to-date stats on the number, distance and pace of steps, as well as the duration of aerobic activity.

The device is goal oriented, helping you set a weight loss target and providing guidance on the activity needed to reach it. While the monitor is able to store up to seven days of information, the user can track progress over time by uploading stats to Omron’s site.

It has a recommended price of $49.99, but is generally cheaper at Amazon and other online stores.

* Get the latest price on the Omron HJA-312 Activity Monitor.

Try an All-Day Blood Pressure Monitor

A mother worries about her 21-year-old son’s high blood pressure, and writes to a newspaper advice column:

He is generally easygoing and not stressed. Doctors always attribute the elevated results to “white-coat syndrome” because he is otherwise in excellent health and doesn’t drink, smoke or use drugs…. 

He has never had any reason to be nervous in a doctor’s office, and the initial high reading was with the pediatrician he had been seeing all his life. Once, a nurse had him rest quietly for a few minutes and rechecked the reading; it was lower but still high. 

He just finished four months of rigorous basic training with the Army, with no problems….I fear that something else is going on. Should he have additional checkups?

The response, from a doctor:

The real question is whether your son has white-coat hypertension or just hypertension.

The best way of answering this is with a 24-hour blood-pressure monitor, which checks his blood pressure every 15 to 30 minutes while he is awake and less frequently at night. If those readings are mostly in the normal range, we could conclude that he has reactive or white-coat hypertension.

What is possible, however, is that he has hypertension; healthy young people sometimes develop it. He might be able to get his blood pressure down — without medications — through relaxation techniques and salt reduction. If he needs medications, certain varieties won’t affect his athletic abilities.

Alvita – the New Pedometer from Omron

Omron AlvitaOmron is replacing its super-popular HJ-112 pedometer with a new model, the Alvita Ultimate. According to the company:

The Alvita Ultimate Pedometer is equipped with several features that make it easier than ever to know how many steps you have taken and how many calories you have burned, including: 

  • Accuracy: Tri-Axis technology allows users to place the pedometer wherever it’s most comfortable. Steps will be measured accurately whether positioned at the hip, in a pocket or purse.
  • Auto Stride: This new feature makes set-up a breeze because the pedometer automatically calculates your stride based on your height and weight inputs.
  • Four Tracking Modes: To motivate users to go a little further every day, this model tracks normal steps, aerobic “brisk” steps, distance and calories burned.
  • Automatic Reset: The slate gets wiped clean each day at midnight, which means tracking daily steps and distance is automatic and easy.
  • 7-Day Memory: This model stores up to seven days of information so users can track progress over time.
  • Accessories: Comes with a clock, strap, clip and holder. Battery included.

Omron is taking a risk replacing the HJ-112. Here is what I wrote about it:

The Omron HJ-112 pedometer is something of a phenomenon. It has been around for years, and would seem to have been surpassed by the marvellous wizardry of Fitbit and other similar devices. Yet year after year the Omron remains on the best-seller charts, and continues to receive regular laudatory reviews.

Perhaps it is because this is a simple, reliable, reasonably-priced monitor that does just what it claims to do. No more, no less.

As I write the Alvita was being promoted, but was not available. It will retail for $29.99, actually cheaper than the HJ-112.

* Get further details and the latest price at Amazon.

BreathKey Breathalyzer – More Good Reviews

Breathkey BreathalyzerI have written before about the BreathKey, the popular American-made breathalyzer, and one of the few mainstream personal-use breath testers not made by AlcoHAWK or BACtrack.

It continues to attract many reviews at Amazon. The majority are favorable, but there are some dissenters, and the average rating is now 3.7 stars. (Few popular breathalyzers have ratings above 4 stars.)

Here is one recent five-star review:

My husband has one. I have one. My 27 year old daughter is getting one for Christmas. It is very lightweight and unobtrusive. It appears ( though I ‘m no expert) to be accurate. It just provides that extra measure of care not to be under the influence while driving. I had a minor mailing snafu when I sent one of ours in for routine recalibration and the customer service person I interacted with – I believe his name is Ed – couldn’t have been more courteous and helpful. I will definitely give more of these as gifts!

And another:

I use this every time I have had a drink and needed to drive. It is dead on accurate, and simple to use. It also helped me get a sense of my limits after using it a couple of times. I recommend this for anyone that is interested in knowing their limits.

And a three-star review:

I got this for my birthday last year (it was on my wishlist) and I loved it at first. I learned that I feel that I shouldn’t drive when I blow .05, which is important information.

I kept the device in my purse, which makes sense. That way, I always had it with me when I was out and could use it before driving home. Unfortunately, the display has been damaged; it is half black and can’t be read any longer. I’d think the display on a device meant to be carried on a keyring would be a bit sturdier.

The beeping is really hard to hear, too. I think the frequency is pretty high for those of us in our 40s who damaged our hearing with too much loud music!

* Get the latest price on the BreathKey Keychain Breathalyzer

Omron Series 10 Blood Pressure Monitor – As Popular As Ever

Omron 10 Series Blood Pressure MonitorOmron’s 10-Series upper arm blood pressure monitors remain among the market’s most popular monitors. At Amazon they now have more than 1,320 customer reviews, with the great majority of them highly favorable.

Here are a few of the recent ones:

* Started using my BP monitor last night and so far it seems great. The directions are very simple and easy to understand. I put batteries in and plugged in the cuff to the base and that’s it. The TruRead feature is really nice because it averages my BP over three reads so I don’t have to. The cuff seems to pressurize to the necessary level automatically and stops when sufficient so it won’t over tighten. The memory feature is also nice so I can track how my BP is improving over time. All in all, no complaints so far.

* This was purchased to replace an Omron HEM-712C that I had for a great many years. This product is easy to set up and easy to use. It is very accurate and is right in line with my doctor’s readings. As for the comfit cuff… it truly is comfortable and fits perfect every time…I am a 230lb bodybuilder with 19″ arms, and my friend is 125 lb female…The transition between us for fitting the cuff and taking readings is as good as each of us having our own custom fitted arm cuff. As long as you are smarter than the machine itself, it is easy to use and a great buy!

* Having been using this for about a month now to keep track of my blood pressure. So far it has worked great. It will store up to 100 readings for 2 people. Apparently I have a little bit of White coat syndrome and my BP is always significantly higher at the doctor’s office so I got this to more accurately track my BP. I have had no issues with it so far. I use it and then put the readings down in an excel spreadsheet. I was told to always make sure I got the upper arm cuff ones as they are much more accurate than the finger or wrist ones.

Get the latest price on the Omron 10-Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor.

Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Works

Ozeri digital pedometerHome blood pressure monitoring works, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Indeed, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 72 percent of those doing home monitoring had their blood pressure under control, compared with 57 percent who mainly relied on their doctors.

The article gives some home monitoring dos and don’ts:

DO make sure your equipment is calibrated at your doctor’s office.

DON’ T toss out the high readings because you don’t like them.

DO write down the results, in a written or an electronic journal.

DO send or bring your readings to your to your doctor to discuss how the regimen should be changed, if at all.

Hidden Hypertension – Buy Your Own Blood Pressure Monitor

bigstock-Blood-pressure-29817749A visit to the doctor is stressful for some patients, and can lead to unnaturally high blood pressure readings. This is a well-known phenomenon.

But now come reports of the converse – people who feel quite relaxed with the doctor and so present a blood pressure reading that seems normal. Yet at home or at work these people may in fact be stressed, and their blood pressure is often dangerously high.

An interesting article at CNet examines this:

New research of more than 5,000 people spanning four countries finds that not only do people with this kind of hidden hypertension have a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, but that home blood pressure monitoring often helps identify this phenomenon.

The reasons for this kind of hypertension have yet to be pinned down with great confidence, but daily life stressors and certain behaviors like alcohol and contraceptive use are thought to be culprits. And while home blood pressure monitoring has already been touted as a great way tohelp people manage high blood pressure, the new findings make the case that more widespread home monitoring could actually help diagnose it as well.