As a person with high cholesterol, I am constantly monitoring what I eat and how much I weigh. I use a connected smart scale that can measure a variety of helpful metrics, such as weight, muscles mass, bone mass, hydration and even heart rate. But there is no way for me to know my heart health or cholesterol levels without taking a trip to the doctor.
But that may soon change. While I still can’t measure my cholesterol levels without a finger prick, Withings claims that its new smart scale, the Body Cardio, is the first to measure cardiovascular health. The Body Cardio measures Pulse Wave Velocity, which is a measure of arterial stiffness and is said to be a key indicator of heart health. Studies have found stiffer arteries to be an indicator for having a higher risk for things like high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.
The Body Cardio is available now from Apple stores and the Withings website for $180 (about £120, AU$240). A more affordable model that doesn’t include Pulse Wave Velocity measurements, the Withings Body, can be had for $130 (about £90, AU$175).
How does it work
For someone like me, a self-described health nut and data junkie, all of this sounds appealing, but only if it’s accurate. Pulse Wave Velocity is frequently used in clinical tests and has been found to be a reliable measurement for heart health. The Body Cardio sounds good on paper, but I personally haven’t had a chance to test it.
To determine your Pulse Wave Velocity, the scale is equipped with special sensors that are said to be able to determine the exact moment when blood is ejected from the aorta and when it reaches blood vessels in the feet. The time between the two is then compared to your height to determine your Pulse Wave Velocity, which is measured in meters per second. This is all said to take about 15 seconds from start to finish.
Now that you have this Pulse Wave Velocity number what is next? What are you supposed to do with it? That’s where the Health Mate app on Android and iOS comes in. Withings has said there will be personalized recommendations The Health Mate app on Android and iOS provide tailored recommendations along with trends to help you analyze the data and improve your overall heart health. That could include recommendations like losing weight, changing your diet, exercising more, managing stress or avoiding salt and alcohol, all of which can improve heart health.
The Body Cardio is equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to automatically upload your information to the cloud. It can also automatically recognize up to eight different users. In addition to Pulse Wave Velocity, the Body Cardio can measure the following:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Body fat percentage
- Total body water percentage
- Muscle mass
- Bone mass
- Standing heart rate