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Until recently, checking your vital stats meant heading to a hospital or doctor's office and getting hooked up to a heap of expensive equipment. But thanks to the proliferation of low-cost wearables and sensors, that old health care model is starting to change. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say we're in the midst of a full-bore revolution in the health care sector, with profound (and welcome!) consequences for how we track our health and receive treatment.
But with a host of gizmos and gadgets now on the market, each promising to generate actionable data about our heart rates, blood pressure, sleep patterns and more, which ones are trustworthy and effective?
Enter Omron Healthcare, a high-tech maker of health care devices that sync up with your smartphone or tablet to track your readings and health history. The goal, according to the company's website, is a "future free of heart attack and stroke." To that end, the company sells a range of smartphone-friendly blood pressure monitors, Electrotherapy TENS units, activity trackers and more, each designed to give you the information you need to take better charge of your health.
In particular, Omron has established itself over the last 40 years as a key maker of home heart and blood pressure monitors. In fact, the company claims to be the No. 1 doctor and pharmacist recommended brand for home blood pressure monitors and No. 1-selling brand of these devices, with nearly 200 million units sold worldwide.
That's good news for people who want to stay on top of their heart health -- and considering that nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, most of us could likely benefit from frequent monitoring.
Check out some of our favorite products below.
Note: The prices below reflect the listed retailer's prices on the date this article was published.
HeartGuide Wearable Blood Pressure Monitor - BP8000-M ($499; OmronHealthcare.com)
According to Omron, HeartGuide is the first clinically accurate, wearable blood pressure monitor. Its sleek looks might recall other high-end smartwatches, but the HeartGuide -- which was recently cleared by the FDA as a medical device -- has a unique inflatable cuff within the watch band which is used to take a traditional oscillometric blood pressure reading (that's the same method your doctor will typically use). It's stuffed with other features, too, like fitness tracking, sleep monitoring, and connectivity to your smartphone via the HeartAdvisor companion app, where a helpful dashboard keeps track of your health stats over time. And since it lives on your wrist and gives you regular heart health insights, the HeartGuide gives you the power to stay informed and proactive about your heart health even when you're on the move.
Evolv Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor - BP7000 ($69.99, originally $99.99; OmronHealthcare.com)
This wireless arm monitor includes important features like irregular heartbeat monitoring, BP risk category indicators, and data averaging, all without the need for dangling wires or hoses. That translates to a comfortable fit and accurate readings no matter where you are. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, it's easy to store your readings to track your health trends over time and share them with your health care provider. It all adds up to a compact, powerful package designed to help put your heart health back in your hands.
PeakAir Peak Flow Meter ($18.02, originally $25.75; OmronHealthcare.com)
Asthma sufferers know that getting your heart rate up through exercises can leave some vulnerable to exercised-induced asthma attacks. Those with asthma can appreciate the concept of "peak expiratory flow rate," which is the fastest speed you can expel air from your lungs. This simple, portable device helps track your PEFR and monitor any changes in your airflow. That's useful information for a host of respiratory conditions.
7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor - BP652N ($55.99, originally $79.99; OmronHealthcare.com)
The 7 Series wrist monitor is one of our favorites for its affordable price tag and ability to provide on-the-go readings. It has quiet inflation capabilities so measurements can be taken discreetly. With Heart Zone Guidance technology, the monitor helps to ensure accuracy with wrist-to-heart level and correct positioning. The monitor will also store up to 100 readings for a comprehensive look at any fluctuations in your readings over time.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.