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Hands-on: Withings Blood Pressure Monitor helps keep a watchful eye on your health

Your vital signs can tell you a lot about your everyday health. If you’re in a risk category when it comes to blood pressure, it’s important to monitor it as often as possible. Unfortunately, other than those cringe-inducing public machines at the grocery store, it can be difficult to measure your blood pressure other than whenever you pay a visit to your doctor. Luckily for those who are health-conscious and own an iPhone, Withings has come up with a solution. The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor ($129) uses a small device that connects to your iPhone to take accurate measurements of your blood pressure levels and turn your daily results into graphs and helpful visuals. This storage of data makes the Withings monitor a great tool for tracking your measurements over time and sharing them with your doctor if you are at risk for of have concerns like hypertension or heart disease.

To use the device, you simply wrap the monitor around your bicep and plug the cord into your iOS device. The app will automatically launch, and a green “Start” button on the screen is all you have to press to get started. The cuff will then inflate and deflate, just like at the doctor’s office, at measure your systolic and diastolic pressure while your current heart rate appears on the screen. When the measurement is finished, you can press the “Done” button to view your history of measurements. Color markers of green, yellow, and red indicate whether your numbers are optimal, slightly high, or at risk. When you click on a color, the ratings expand to provide more detail on what each category means for your health.

Sharing your information with others is just as simple. The device can email a list of your results to your doctor, or automatically transmit the information to online databases like Microsoft Health Vault and Google Health. If you are one of those people who share inappropriate life details on the internet, you can also easily share your daily blood pressure results on Facebook and Twitter. But honestly, please don’t. We don’t need to know.

The system translate your daily results into easy-to-read graphs that help you keep track of their measurements over long periods of time. Say you go to your doctor and he warns you that you have dangerously high blood pressure and gives you some tools and advice to get the number to a more optimal level. Using this system, you could track your numbers on a daily basis and look back at your graphs after three months to see if your average level has improved at all. The ability to see trends here is an important reason why this system is worth the money and effort.

If you’re a young, healthy person, your interest in spending $129 on a blood pressure monitor is probably negligible, but if you are someone who has hypertension, heart disease, is at risk for either, or has some other health concern that has to do with BP levels, this system could be an important health tool. We found it very easy to use and would recommend it for anyone who needs to keep tabs on their daily or weekly numbers.

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