Editors Blog – Holding your heart (rate) in your hands

A heart rate monitor can keep workouts on track and provide reassurance to health monitoring in the home, writes Caroline Hayes

My interest was first piqued when I was told that I could work smarter not harder at exercise. By establishing what your maximum heart rate is, it is possible to exercise more efficiently and burn fat.

There are different heart rate monitors already available, from the sensor pads placed on strategic parts of the body wired up to a monitor, chest straps for less mobile monitoring. The significance of understanding heart health is a big step towards combating heart disease. The World Health Organisation said that in 2015, 317.1million deaths were due to cardiovascular disease.

It is no surprise to find out that North and South America are the largest market for heart rate monitors. In 2015, one in four Americans died from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Europe, led by Germany and France is the second largest market and Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market, fuelled as much by an ageing population as by healthcare spending. The Middle East and Africa account for the least share of the heart rate monitor, reports Market Research Future.

The global heart rate monitoring devices market is predicted to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 per cent between 2017 and 2024 (Heart Rate Monitoring Devices Market Global Demand Analysis, Opportunity, Outlook 2024 by Research Nester)

Wearable heart monitors are not only cumbersome but expensive, and the rise of the smartphone app and wireless sensor technology means is providing another option.

Putting two thumbs on a credit card-sized heart rate monitor is one of the easiest ways to check your heart rate and also some health parameters. I was sent a WIWE heart diagnostic device and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to use.

The WIWE is easy to set up with a smartphone app (iOS or Android). The instructions are easy to follow and the ergonomics of the device are such that it is comfortable to hold the device correctly to allow it to register. I entered my age, weight and heart and the WIWE records biometric data. The device connects to the iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth.

The WIWE provides a clinical-grade ECG to check for arrhythmia or stroke as well as check for heart rate after exertion to check fitness levels.

The device is lightweight so can easily be taken to the gym or used after exercise to check the user’s heart rate. It is also a convenient way for patients at home to keep tabs on their heart rate.

The mobile app’s home screen has some tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and the profile page stores recording to compare or track heart activity.

Users can view analysis of electrocardiograph (ECG), arrhythmia risk and ventricular reploarisation heterogeneity, with green yellow or red used to simply illustrate the state of cardiac health.

For users who don’t need to check heart rates post-workout, the WIWE can also be used by people at home with smartphone app data forwarded to a GP or specialist to remotely monitor a patient’s blood oxygen or heart rate.

The simplicity of design and ease of use, make this a comfortable way to check your heart health. As well as passing the lazy person fitness test, I tried the other measure for all electronics, my 82 year old mother. She found the instructions easy to follow, intuitive and simple to execute and the results were not only reassuring, they were better than mine – I’m off to the gym!


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