Health and Science

New home scales measure how healthy your heart is


Consumer electronics firm Withings has designed a set of scales that can check the health of your heart as well as your weight, the company claims.

The device, Body Cardio, is able to measure pulse wave velocity, which is produced by the beating of the heart and can correlate with hypertension (high blood pressure). Normally, pulse wave velocity can only be measured in a clinical setting, according to the French company's press release.

The Withings Body Cardio can reportedly measure heart health

"Body Cardio can detect when blood is pumped from your heart and it measures the rate at which pulse waves move along your arteries," Rachel Glum, a copywriter for Withings, said on the company's blog.

"The stiffer your arteries, the more quickly blood moves through your body. Conversely, a low pulse wave velocity indicates more flexible arteries and lower blood pressure."

The device is paired with Withings Health Mate app, which can interpret the measurements and suggest recommendations to improve cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular disease has a huge cost to society. Research by the American Heart Association in 2011 estimated the medical costs for treating problems such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke would increase to $818 billion by 2030, from $273 billion in 2010.

Technology may help abate the rising public costs of health care by offering mobile solutions — which also creates an attractive opportunity for tech developers. PwC estimates global revenues from mobile health solutions will reach $23 billion by 2017.

Nokia made a play into the mobile health space earlier this year by acquiring Withings. The Finnish telecom network equipment maker completed the acquisition at the end of May and placed Withings' former CEO Cédric Hutchings in charge of its new digital health unit.

"The Nokia brand is synonymous with innovation, connectivity and consumer technology and the acquisition of Withings puts us in a perfect position to capitalize on the huge opportunity in the health space," Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said in a press release in May.

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