When it comes to our health, it’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping track of our vitals like blood pressure is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Chronic high blood pressure is the “silent killer’. It leads to a host of health issues including heart attacks, stroke, vision loss, and more. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly at home is one of the best preventive measures to avoid heart disease.
I’m reviewing the QardioArm Smart Blood Pressure Monitor, an at-home blood pressure monitor that works with iOS and Android devices. Readings take less than 30 seconds. Results are stored on your smartphone. Could this be the missing health tech you’ve been looking for? Let’s find out by first examining the design.
Design of the QardioArm
At first glance, the QardioArm can easily be mistaken for a USB battery bank. It’s made of plastic and rectangular-shaped measuring 5.5” (H) x 2.7” (W), x 1.5” (D). It’s securely attached to the armband and cannot be removed. There are no buttons on the device itself, not even a power button
The QardioArm is powered by four AAA batteries that come pre-installed. They can be removed by opening the slot on one side. Finding that slot is hard as the release button is tucked on the underside of the armband.
To use the device, the armband must loop through the metal ring located beside the QardioArm. This creates a secure opening for the arm. In the proper position, the QardioArm device rests on the underside of your left arm.
Using the QardioArm
The QardioArm device works in conjunction with the Qardio app. There are additional products that sync with the Qardio app such as the QardioBase 2 Wi-Fi Smart Scale Body Analyzer. You can read my review of that product here.
I first created an account and placed the QardioArm beside my Android smartphone to sync it via Bluetooth.
A large Start button appears on the app. With the QardioArm securely placed on my arm, I pressed the Start button. As my hand was resting on the table, I could feel the pressure increase in the armband. It deflated after 10 seconds and my readings were shown on the app.
I folded the device in the armband and it automatically shut off. As soon as I roll it out again, it automatically turns back on.
Understanding QardioArm readings
The QardioArm measures your systolic and diastolic readings and your resting pulse rate. Systolic blood pressure measures the force your heart exerts on the artery walls each time it beats. Diastolic blood pressure measures the force your heart exerts on the artery walls in between beats. Both these measurements are in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
Normal blood pressure has a systolic reading below 120 and diastolic reading below 80. To help users understand their readings, a colour coded dot (green, yellow, red) is displayed. Users can also view their results against the World Health Organization chart. This helps people visually see how their reading fares up against the WHO guidelines.
Another metric is the location of each reading. Our blood pressure can change based upon our environment and stress level. The QardioArm uses geo-tracking to see how your blood pressure changes at work, at home, or while on vacation. This data can be insightful in understanding how environmental cues can affect stress levels and subsequent blood pressure readings.
QardioArm useful features
The Qardio app comes with a host of useful features to ensure adherence and make the best use of the data.
First, it allows users to use a triple measurement average for a more accurate reading. The Qardio App automatically takes and averages 3 successive measurements for you. Using more data sets ensures more accurate readings.
Second, users can set reminders to take blood pressure readings at certain times like first thing in the morning or at night before bed. Taking readings at different times of the day can provide a lot of insight into blood pressure fluctuations during the day.
Third, data can be used by other apps and can be shared with friends, family, and doctors. This makes it easy to build a support network to improve your health. For a more complete health record, users can also add notes like tracking medications with each reading before sharing with others.
Personal experience with the QardioArm
Despite reading the Quick Start Guide, I had difficulty using the QardioArm for the first time. The instructions were not very helpful. I imagine I’m not the only one who found it confusing. Instead, I watched how-to videos from the Qardio YouTube channel to better understand the setup procedures.
On the first day of readings, the QuardioArm detected an irregular heartbeat. My blood pressure reading was good, but the irregular heartbeat warning concerned me. Thankfully, the irregular heartbeat notification was gone the next day.
Overall, all my personal readings were good. I exercise regularly and eat a clean, healthy diet. Thankfully, my blood pressure readings seem to reflect that with normal and optimal ratings.
I found it simple to use once I got the hang of it. If my doctor told me to check my blood pressure regularly, I could easily use this every day. The QardioArm is aesthetically well designed, it provides readings in under 30 seconds and syncs seamlessly with the app. It’s also compact like a battery bank, making it easy to take to work and vacation.
We all want to be healthy and health tech can help us get there by monitoring our vitals. The QardioArm does a fantastic job in capturing blood pressure measurements, sharing data, and reminding people to take readings.
The big issue I think people will have with the QardioArm is learning how it works. They really need to direct people to watch the Qardio How-to videos on YouTube. I imagine a lot of people’s first experiences will be full of frustrations. Basically, it has no buttons or visible lights so it’s hard to know when it’s on or off.
Remember, the damage done by high blood pressure happens over time. That’s why managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. If you need to regularly monitor your blood pressure, I highly recommend you try the QardioArm Wireless Smart Blood Pressure Monitor.