Friday, January 4, 2013

If High Blood Pressure, Then Nerd

picture of high blood pressureI recently went to the doctor for a killer cold, and was reminded of my slightly elevated blood pressure.  I generally attribute it to ‘White Coat Hypertension’, but thought it would be good to track it a bit more closely and maybe try to get it down a bit.  So, I did the nerdiest thing I could and bought a Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, and a Wireless Scale to go with it.  It was a toss up between this and similar iHealth products, but Withings had better integration, including IFTTT support.  Which means when I weigh in or check blood pressure, I can automate interesting things, like saving the stats to a spreadsheet, turning on a coffee pot via WeMo, or texting the local donut shop to place an order.

The gadgets arrived yesterday and set up fairly easily. They both seem well designed and thought out. Once set up, I was able to measure blood pressure, weight, and BMI and see the results on a convenient iPhone app.  For now, when I weigh in or measure blood pressure, IFTTT just logs the results to spreadsheets in my Google Docs account.

My only reservations with the products so far are long-term support and some IFTTT features I’d like to see.  By tying my scale and cuff to Withings Cloud, they only last as long as their online services support them, which may or may not be a long time. This, and a level of privacy, are the price we pay for connectivity. In addition, I’d like the ability to set blood pressure goals in Withings and IFTTT to trigger things.  As-is, I can (in theory) post to Facebook when I hit a target weight, but not when I hit a target blood pressure.  Sounds like a hack opportunity to me.

Those that know me know I’m not the worlds most athletic or health conscious person.  I’m going to avoid making this into a New Year’s resolution, but it stands to reason you can’t improve what you can’t measure, and you won’t measure what’s hard to measure.  By fully automating and measuring them, I can at least make these stats visible and hopefully keep healthy in 2013. 

*For those concerned, my blood pressure and weight are all fine and within WHO guidelines, at least when I refrain from reading the news.

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