While I am annoyingly, and boringly, fit and healthy nowadays, I used to be heavy drinking, obese, stressed and depressed. I regularly had palpitations, and one of the reasons for getting fit was because I was sure my lifestyle choices would lead to a heart attack in my 30s.
I am still paranoid of my heart health now, worried I have done permanent damage to it over the years, and I do still suffer from palpitations, but I think this is just anxiety-related, or occasionally too much salt.
So being a tech-geek and health nut I have always been a fan of tracking as much health data as possible. This has included my weight using Withings scales, sleep with the Withings Sleep Mat, then resting heart rate and general fitness through my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. I even get semi-regular blood tests to test things like testosterone, diabetes and problems with my kidneys or liver.
I also keep an eye on my blood pressure and have reviewed several smart blood pressure monitors that will sync with your phone.
Wellue Blood Pressure Monitor and ECG
This new device from Wellue is yet another blood pressure monitor, but this differs from others by being able to carry out an electrocardiogram (ECG) too.
An ECG is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
It can be used to investigate symptoms of a possible heart problem, such as chest pain, palpitations (suddenly noticeable heartbeats), dizziness and shortness of breath. So this is something of particular interest for me.
In particular, home ECGs can help you identify Atrial fibrillation (AFib) which is the most common form of arrhythmia and can lead to heart failure, fatigue and shortness of breath. AFib is also a major risk for stroke and often has no symptoms. It can be detected via an electrocardiogram.
The Wellue works like a normal BPM with its upper arm cuff that will then sync the results to the ViHealth App. For the ECG you carry out this simple test by l signals of your heart and detect its potential problems by simply holding two sides of the device with your hands. Then a 30-sec ECG result can be quickly shown and stored.
One of the issues with an electrocardiogram is interpreting the results. I have reviewed ECG machines before; they just show a graph of your heart rate, its not like your blood pressure where there are specific numbers that are good, OK and bad.
Minor shape differences in the graph can mean very different things, the number of squares each reading runs across can also indicate a problem. In general, it’s a minefield unless you know what you are doing.
With his ECG machine, it gives you some basic feedback so you know whether or not you should contact your Doctor. If the machine does identify an issue with your ECG reading, it has a handy share option that you can use to send or save the ECG as a PDF report for your Doctor.
FDA Cleared Product
Importantly with devices like these, you need to know the readings are accurate. This has been fully cleared by the FDA.
More affordable than competing options
Currently, I can only find this available direct from getwellue.com, which is based in the USA. However, it is priced at just $99 with shipping to the UK costing $10, or free shipping if you are in the UK.
This works out as £85.
In comparison, the Withings BPM Core, which has blood pressure, ECG and stethoscope, is £229.95.
The Omron BP7900 is $159.99, and the Beurer BM95 is £152.89
Buying just an ECG by itself is not cheap with these typically costing around £100 on Amazon.
Monitoring and improving our health has never been more important. People that are obese are significantly more likely to suffer serious complications from COVID and die. This has led the UK Government to start a new strategy to help us lose weight.
This doesn’t specifically target people with high blood pressure, but early research indicates people with high blood pressure are more likely to have worse symptoms and die from complications.
In China, 25% to 50% of people who came to hospitals with coronavirus had high blood pressure or another health condition like cancer, diabetes, or lung disease. In Italy, a report said that more than 99% of people who had died from the virus had one of these conditions – and 76% of them had high blood pressure.
I have just got this BPM and ECG machine in to review, and will hopefully have it done next week. My initial impressions are very positive I have done a couple of readings, and it appears to be accurate, and there have thankfully been no reported issues with my heart.