Individuals who wish to track their cardiovascular health can now do so by stepping onto a smart scale. Body Cardio, a digital scale by Withings, uses pulse wave velocity (PWV) to identify “vascular age” by measuring the speed at which blood flows through the arteries. Comparing this measurement against data from thousands of people of the same age, the scale indicates whether arterial health is optimal, average, or below optimal.
Vascular age is an emerging health metric that refers to the condition of the body’s blood vessels. Arterial walls stiffen with age, but they typically age slower than the rest of the body. However, cigarette smoking, a diet high in saturated or trans fat, chronic stress, and other factors can cause the arteries to age faster.
Health providers frequently measure vascular age in the office with a small device that clips onto a finger. Body Cardio makes the ability to track vascular age available at home. When a user steps onto the scale, it determines pulse wave velocity by measuring the time it takes for blood flowing out of the heart through the aorta to reach the feet.
The scale uses an algorithm to analyze the pulse wave velocity in relation to the user’s age. An “optimal” score indicates the individual is in the top 10% of Withings users, with a significantly lower vascular age than chronological age. “Normal” means vascular health is aligned with biological age; 80% of Withings users in the age group fall within the same range. Those who match the 10% of Withings users with a vascular age higher than chronological age receive a “Not optimal” score.
A score of “not optimal” suggests the user could consider healthier lifestyle choices or talk to their doctor about their vascular age. It’s important to note that Body Cardio isn’t a medical device and doesn’t provide a diagnosis of any health condition.
To establish the accuracy of Body Cardio, Withings conducted a pilot study comparing its device with a sphygmometer (blood pressure cuff), considered the gold standard by the medical community. The study showed that Body Cardio’s measurements strongly aligned with those of the sphygmometer.