With coronavirus entering its second wave, it has never been more important to take care of your health.
In the UK, 28.7% of adults are obese, and a further 35.6% are overweight but not obese, meaning almost two-thirds of the population needs to lose weight.
There is a clear link between Covid-19 complications and obesity, and this has led the government to start a new obesity strategy aiming to get both adults and children to lose weight.
As we all know, obesity, or just being overweight, has a strong correlation with high blood pressure. Blood pressure itself has a strong link to complications with Covid-19 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.
Then you have all the issues associated with high blood pressure regardless of a global pandemic.
It has never been easier to monitor your blood pressure, and small incremental lifestyle adjustments can have drastic changes on it, improving your longevity and overall feeling of well being.
Of course, it is not just overweight people that suffer from blood pressure issues, many other factors play a part, and some people seem to suffer from it naturally.
Personally, I think semi-regular monitoring of your blood pressure is important; it is arguably a more important factor in your overall health than weight, which doesn’t always mean you are healthy or unhealthy.
Wellue Blood Pressure Monitor and ECG
The Wellue Blood Pressure Monitor and ECG is one of a growing number of products that simplifies tracking your blood pressure by syncing it with your phone. It also has the added benefit of an electrocardiogram (ECG) too.
An ECG is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
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.
This is quite easy to set up. While you can use this without your phone, syncing the data is advisable.
You need the ViHealth app, then just follow the instructions to pair up the machine with your phone.
There is no account required, so no personally identifiable data is stored on the app itself.
I have been very impressed with the blood pressure features. While I am incredibly active and fit with a healthy diet, I don’t sleep very well, and drink far too much caffeine, so my blood pressure is a little higher than I would like it to be.
With a lot of blood pressure machines, I end up getting random very high readings which often requires me to take multiple tests before they start to normalise out.
With this, all my readings have been consistent. I have no scientific way to prove this is accurate, but I would assume a device providing consistent results is more likely to be accurate than a device with massive differences.
It is hard to explain, but the cuff seems to fit my arm better, it is not too wide, and I am able to wrap it around my upper arm to it fits snug without dropping down but not tight. Other devices I just can’t seem to get a good fit, which I think is part of the reason for the erratic results.
With this, over the course of 10 readings across three days, all around the same time, my systolic ranged from 126 to 132, and my diastolic was 80-85. While this is healthy, you can see from the map that it is in the yellow zone, so the upper end of normal.
Similar to the Withings BPM, your results get plotted against a graph. So if you are on a fitness/health journey, you should (hopefully) see your blood pressure trend downwards. You can also write notes for each reading, allowing you to identify trends that cause bumps or dips in your readings.
You can also assign the readings to different users, for multiple user households.
While ECGs are a useful tool in identifying health issues, they are less user friendly than the numbers you get given from blood pressure readings. It is just a graph, and trying to interpret those results is going down a rabbit hole of self (mis)diagnosis. A small bump in the graph at the wrong place can mean very different things.
Thankfully this monitor gives you some feedback, in my case it told me I was normal, I am not sure what sort of feedback you will get if it is not normal though.
If it does tell you that the ECG is irregular, you can download the result as a PDF and then share it with a health professional.
Price and Alternative 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
Blood pressure monitors by themselves are cheap, and you can even get smart ones at an affordable price. The Braun iCheck 7 I reviewed this two years ago is just £45. However, if you also want an ECG, they are quite expensive, even when buying separately, typically costing around £100.
I like the Wellue Blood Pressure Monitor and ECG, I have found it to be one of the easier upper arm cuff monitors to get readings with, so you don’t get the stress of random high readings as much as other BPMs. All my readings have been consistently within 10mmHg of each other, which I think is a good indication of it consistently getting an accurate reading (unless every single one was inaccurate).
The app isn’t as fancy as the likes of Withings, but it is easy to use and presents the data in the clear easy to read format that you can then share with a Doctor if required.
The ECG is a nice bonus, especially with it giving some feedback if it is normal or not. Again, making it easy to share with someone qualified to interpret the results.
While it may be quite an expensive investment for some people, comparatively it is cheap compared to other products.
Overall, this has been one of the best blood pressure monitor devices I have used, thanks to its consistent readings and ease of use.