Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., and a new device from iHealth aims to help people regularly monitor their blood pressure and encourage healthy habits to keep it under control adding another product to the burgeoning trend of DIY, home medical devices.

A new gadget called iHealth was unveiled at this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that enables users to track, chart and share your blood pressure information on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

The iHealth Blood Pressure Monitoring System is battery-powered docking station and blood pressure arm cuff for use with Apple devices and is being reported as a potentially exciting way to combine Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with home blood pressure monitoring devices.

The kit includes a glossy white plastic dock (battery powered) and an arm cuff that interface with your iOS device using a Dock Connector, relying upon a free iHealth application to inflate the cuff, take measurements and then display realtime results of your blood pressure readings.

ihealth blood pressure dock for iPad

Early reactions to the iHealth Blood Pressure Monitoring System

In all seriousness, this seems like a good product. I know people who monitor their BP regularly, and had ‘scares’ at doctors’ offices because they were nervous at those settings, when their measured BP at home hadn’t been above normal.

One concern: does the ‘app’  have adequate security? Does it ‘report back’ results or store them on the device insecurely?

Uh, I have a $40 blood pressure cuff that already keeps track of readings and does everything that is talked about here. Not clear what value the iPhone connection adds other than cool factor.

I will concede that my blood pressure monitor can’t make phone calls but then neither does the iPad!

This article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/science/02see.html?ref=technology) explains how computers can monitor patients’ pulses with cameras. Is the iPhone’s camera good enough to detect the same subtle changes in facial coloration that these computers can? If so, why not make an app to monitor pulse and blood pressure with the inbuilt camera?

“Patients can also share their results with a physician, either via e-mail or by showing them the phone or iPad with the data on it during their next doctor visit.

For the socially minded the application can also deliver blood pressure readings to user accounts such as Twitter and Facebook as a way to generate positive reinforcement about good readings among a user’s social network profile.