When it comes to your health, I’m a firm believer that it’s very important to be proactive. It’s a lesson that I learned due to the fact that my mother died at a young age (56) because she didn’t take her diabetes as seriously as she should have. As a kid, I remember numerous occasions finding her during a low sugar episode. During these scary times, I would have to mix sugar with orange juice and coax her to drink it. Not happy memories for sure… As a result, it was not hard for me to make drastic changes in my own life, when I learned almost 3 years ago that I was also a diabetic. I keep a close eye on my glucose levels using a inexpensive glucose monitor so that hopefully I will never require medication to control my disease. Besides health monitors for diabetes, there are home use devices for measuring blood pressure, cholesterol and today I’m going to tell you about The ReadMyHeart 100. This handheld device from DailyCare BioMedical can measure your heart’s electrical activity.
The ReadMyHeart 100 is a handheld ECG unit. ECG stands for Electrical Cardiogram. Every time your heart beats, it generates small electrical impulses. If different parts of your heart are not synchronized, or if one of the valves is overgrowing, the electricity will not be conducted the same way. This condition is called Atrial Fibrillation and as a consequence of this condition, your brain may suffer from a lack of blood circulation – and you may suffer from a stroke. More than 2 million Americans have AF and it is the cause of 15% of all reported strokes. If you have this problem, this device can help you keep an eye on your condition in between doctors visits.
External Auxiliary Electrode Cable
The device is small and comes with a handy zippered hard shell case so that you can take it with you where ever you go. Everything you need (except 2 AA batteries) is included with the package.
At first glance the ReadMyHeart 100 looks similar to a GameBoy or other small handheld game system.
The Left side of the device has two connectors. One for the included USB cable and one for the included optional external electrode cables.
A slider allows you to cover one of the connectors when it is not being used.
Opening the cover reveals a mono LCD, 3 buttons and 2 dry conduction thumb electrode pads on either side of the display.
Using this device is very easy. Press the power button, place your thumbs on the pads and wait 25 seconds for the monitor to record your heart’s electrical activity. If you have problems using your thumbs, you can use the included external cables and sticky electrode pads on your forearms. The display will count down the time and when the test is complete, your heart rate (HR), Segment ST (ST) and QRS Interval (QRS) results are displayed. Under the screen cover, reference ranges are shown for each of these parameters so you can easily recognize if you are within a normal / healthy range. If you frequently see readings out of the normal range, that is an indicator that you should contact your physician.
Each time you complete a test, the results are stored in the device which holds up to 30 records. Once you save 30 records you won’t be able to record any more tests until you either delete the records or transfer them to your computer using the included USB cable and software.
The software shows trend graphs and the details for each recorded test when you click on one of the plot points. The data can be printed in a report that you can take to your doctor.
With a doctor’s prescription, you can upgrade to a more detailed version of the PC software that will give you access to the EKG tracing of the measurements you took. You will also be able to select intervals in your EKGs – choose to see averages over segments or individual heartbeats for advanced analyses. The software allows you to print or email any measurement to your doctor. It also comes with a booklet titled Introductory Guide to Identifying ECG Irregularities. Flipping through it made my eyes glaze over. Seriously, don’t try to interpret the graphs yourself. This is your doctor’s job. This device is just an easy to use tool to help you and your doctor manage your condition in between visits.
I know that the DailyCare ReadMyHeart 100 handheld ECG isn’t a typical gadget that you would see reviewed here on The Gadgeteer. But if it can help a few people be more proactive about their health, then that’s all that matters right? :o) How many of you use some type of health monitoring ‘gadget’ on a regular basis?