Guest Post by Pat Dengler of Dengler Consulting
I’m going to chat about three devices that I use to monitor my health. What they have in common is that they all report to Apple’s Health app. Each has their own app but with appropriate permissions given, I can see all my readings in one place.
After I listen to the Nosillacast, one of several podcasts I follow is by Tim Ferris. He’s known for the Four Hour Work Week and Four Hour Body. He’s a big experimenter on himself. I’m not, but with Apple’s Health app and the accessibility of various medical grade measuring devices, I thought it would be fun to try a few. That’s usually my ‘problem to be solved’ by the way – ‘what would happen if I tried…’? I’m also a big experimenter with home automation so this just follows!
I use the Ease Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor made by iHealth for $39.99 to regularly record my blood pressure.
Adding to my interest in trying new technologies the fact that I have a few pounds to lose and a friend was diagnosed with diabetes. I was curious about my own health status. I’ve been trying various consumer technology that works with Apple Health. I showed the health app to my Dr. at my last visit and he was impressed – it also gave him a picture of trends, in particular my blood pressure, which runs a little high. We’ve all heard of white coat syndrome, right? That’s where a blood pressure measurement is abnormally high due to the stress and anxiety often felt in a doctors office. All those white coats. My doctor was able to see my measurements taken in the calm of my home over a period of several weeks. Much better than over-medicating based on one measurement.
This next device is the Kardia by AliveCor for $99.
Years ago I was intrigued by the announcement of a device to monitor cardiac rhythm when paired with an iPhone. That was proposed by Dr. Eric Topol a cardiologist at Scripps in San Diego who has been an advocate for giving the patient more control and more accessibility to their own health information. It’s through him that I first heard about the AliveCor device. It will record a single-leed EKG in 30 seconds. Primarily to show evidence of Atrial Fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation is basically an irregular heartbeat that can increase your risk for things like stroke, heart failure, blood clots. I’ve watched the device morph from an iPhone case to the small device it is now and I decided to purchase it this year.
When you first set it up, the first test results are sent to be evaluated by a medical doctor. Within 24 hours you get results. After that you can keep recording results and save them and send them to your own doctor. It will note whether or not it finds any abnormalities. I don’t have AF so I can’t speak to what it does when it does find irregularities in the rhythm. There is also a subscription option to pay for regular evaluations by a physician.
I started checking my blood glucose when a friend was diagnosed with diabetes and had to regularly check hers. I found the Align, also made by iHealth to be very affordable as well as the strips and lancets that you need to take your measurements. iHealth is striving to take down the cost of medical testing as well. It’s device and supplies are the most affordable on the market.
iHealth Align is $16.95, Strips: $12.50/50, Lancets $4.95/50.
The accuracy of these devices has been found to be very good – there are a number of studies that find them within 1-3% of the tests you get in your doctors office.
Other devices I use regularly are the Apple Watch Exercise app and Withings Body Composition scale – both report back to the Apple Health app.
As with anything medical – check with your doctor if you have any questions regarding your health. Don’t rely on just a few tests to replace a regular visit to your medical provider.
Hope you enjoyed my quick little report.