Not to stress money too heavily, but what do you think the U.S. could do with an extra $46 billion added to the annual budget? That’s the estimated overall cost of hypertension, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Approximately 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure and another 1 in 3 has prehypertension; overall then, 2/3 of U.S. adults are subject to this disease. Also according to the CDC, only 52% who have the disease have it under control. I feel very fortunate to have my hypertension under control with lifestyle changes and no longer need to take medication, but I still check my blood pressure regularly and am aware that I’m at risk. Measuring blood pressure is quick and easy even without going to the doctor’s office – accurate personal electronic wrist devices have been on the market for at least 20 years. Single readings are subject to significant fluctuation, however, and if you use a stand-alone blood pressure reader, keeping track of the results over time is up to you.
Blood pressure measurement devices are one of the most common Health Tech categories. Maxim Integrated has a clothing line that can read blood pressure among other measurements, Withings has a wireless device that monitors and sends data directly to health care providers, and ForaCare has a smartwatch that can gather and report data from various devices including blood pressure readers.
Visiomed’s Bewellconnect app and lineup of Health Tech devices, which we’ve written about previously, as well as the compatible MyGluco and MyTemp devices, also has hypertension covered with the MyTensio devices – available in two formats, a wrist band with a visual results display and an armband that doesn’t show you the results on the device itself, but on the connected smartphone app. According to the company the main reason for the two versions is comfort – some people just don’t like the sensation of the more traditional armband version.
The greatest advantage of MyTensio (in either format) is its family membership; you can use one smartphone app to monitor the variety of Bewellconnect sensor and measurement devices you need and choose a la carte. Other noteworthy MyTensio features include Measurement Average Mode (MAM) taking three separate readings in 15 second intervals over three minutes – a measurement standard that increases the reliability of the final score. The MyTensio devices also measure heart rate and can detect arrhythmia with its Irregular Heartbeat Detector (IHB). The devices sync with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and the results are displayed in universal red, yellow, green color ranges so you’ll know instantly if your reading is normal, needs attention, or is in a danger zone. The armband version uses oscilliometric technology while the wristband device has a Bosch sensor.
Both versions of MyTensio will be available for sale in the U.S. when the full lineup of Bewellconnect devices has FDA approval, which the company expects during the first quarter of this year.
As the range and number of measuring, tracking, and monitoring components in the Health Tech sector of the Internet of Things expand, not only will more information be accessible but individual needs and preferences will be accorded as well. Certainly with such a common health issue as hypertension, the greater the capacity for helping people the better the overall societal benefit.