Blood pressure cuff reviews Ratings
My running joke about blood pressure is that I know mine is relatively low, but I have no idea what the numbers are or what they mean. It could be a hundred five-ity seven over four for all I know. A new at-home blood pressure monitor QardioArm makes it easy to both take and understand your blood pressure.
The QardioArm ($99), available in a range of colors, is a sleek device that pairs with an iOS or Android app (Android app released Sep. 3). No need to be a medical professional to use it, as the device runs itself. You simply unfurl the device, slide it onto your arm, fasten the Velcro strap, and hit the Start button in the app. QardioArm does the rest.
When rolled up, the device doesn't look like much at all. Come to think of it, it's still pretty sleek even when it's on your arm. The armband is nondescript, which is attached to an equally nondescript piece of hardware. It looks like nothing more than a solid plastic rectangle measuring 5.5 by 2.7 by 1.5 inches (HWD), with a nice sheen.
It runs on four AAA batteries that slot into one side of the device with a removable cover. The design is so streamlined, however, that it's entirely possible to miss the release point for opening the battery compartment (I had to search for it).
When you slide the band onto your upper arm and secure it, all you really have to do is sit still while the app and device take your reading. A large Start button in the app sends the go-ahead to the QardioArm via Bluetooth. You'll hear the device whir into motion and feel the pressure increase. On the screen, you see spaces for your systolic and diastolic readings, as well as pulse (heart rate). The reading takes less than 30 seconds, and your results appear instantly.
If those numbers don't mean anything to you, swipe the app right to left, and a much more comprehensible chart appears mapping your blood pressure onto a color-coded graph. For this visualization alone, the app has been immensely valuable to me already.
The app has a few other great features, such as a reminder to take your blood pressure, which you can adjust to be daily or just a few times a week. It also saves your history of readings so that you can plot them over time.
One issue some users may have is that Qardio's app and device isn't compatible with Microsoft HealthVault and some other platforms you might use to log your other health and medical statistics. With HealthVault, you can always type in a blood pressure and pulse reading, but it won't import automatically, the way it can with the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor.