Editors’ Choice Health
MOCACuff by MOCACare
Review by Angie Kibiloski
February is Heart Health Month, a time for us all to take stock of our cardiovascular systems, and make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, for both sexes, but there are many things we can do to help our hearts continue to happily beat a rhythm for our lives. Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise, and scheduling regular check-ups with our doctors are a few key ways. Another easy thing we can all do is to keep track of one of the major factors of heart health, our blood pressure. Our doctors always take this reading at appointments, but it’s a good idea to be able to self monitor our own blood pressure on a more regular basis. Fortunately, MOCACare has a very user-friendly device to do just that, the MOCACuff blood pressure monitor (Retail $69), which fits comfortably around your wrist and gives you accurate results in moments.
Blood pressure is the level of force your blood puts on the walls of your arteries, which constantly changes during the cardiac cycle. The highest pressure level is called systolic BP, which happens when the heart beats, and the lowest pressure is the diastolic BP, which is when your heart is at rest. Both factors are important when evaluating your heart health. The MOCACuff measures both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as pulse rate. You simply wrap the soft fabric band around your wrist, rest your arm so the monitor is at heart level, and press the Start button. The cuff will inflate and begin to record you blood pressure readings. After less than a minute, the cuff will deflate, and instantly display your results on the screen. In addition to seeing your three number results, an arrow will point to a color-coded indicator to the side, which corresponds to the American Heart Association‘s standard blood pressure categories, like Normal, Pre-hypertension, Hypertension, and so on. Your BP can vary throughout the day, depending on factors like physical activity, food consumption, or stress level, so it’s important to take readings at different times during your day. This will give you the most accurate idea of your average BP. You can scroll through all your test results right on the screen, but if you want to see them collated and unlock other options, you’ll want to connect the cuff to the app.
The MOCACare app, compatible with both iOS and Android, syncs to the device via Bluetooth, and instantly logs and charts your readings. You can view a list of each individual test, or see them graphed out in a handy chart, which is an easy visual way to see how our blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, week, month, and year. The app will give you helpful tips on improving and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. You can also export your results out of the app, to conveniently share with your doctor or trusted family members. You’ll be able to input other health factors, emergency contacts, and a little personal information so the app can more accurately put your results in the correct standard BP categories. You can also connect this app to MOCACare’s other device, the MOCAheart, a hand held blood pressure monitor, which records your BP through your fingertip.
Heart health is so important in order for all of us to live long, healthy, active lives, and the MOCACuff is just one product we can use to achieve that goal. It has been clinically tested, with its measurement results shown to be equivalent to those taken by a doctor with a cuff and stethoscope, and certified to fall within the accuracy limits set by the American National Standard for Manual, Electronic, or Automated Sphygmomanometers. Of course, everyone’s heart health is different, and you may be at a higher risk for heart problems due to a number of factors, like age, gender, family history, and lifestyle, so you should use this cuff as a supplement to your regular doctor’s visits, instead of a substitute. Take a look at MOCACare’s site at www.mocacare.com for even more information on the MOCACuff and MOCAheart devices. You can find the MOCACare app for iOS here, and for Android here. Watching your blood pressure is just one factor in keeping a healthy heart, but it’s a major one, and with this product you’ll be able to easily monitor your BP at home, and help ensure that you and your heart have many more years together.
In additional to tracking your BP, there are other things you can do to take care of your hard working heart. Why not make this Heart Health Month be the start of your new health, fitness, and wellness routine? Here’s a list of 7 heart healthy things you can do everyday to get your started.
1) Eat a healthy diet, which is low in saturated and trans fats, but high in unsaturated fats. Include many whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Reduce your sodium intake, and increase your potassium, which can counterbalance the sodium. Staying away from processed foods is very beneficial. Also, watch your calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight.
2) Consider including fish oil, or other heart healthy supplements with your daily vitamins. Just be sure to do your research beforehand, and make sure to ask your doctor before taking anything long term, as everyone’s systems (and other medications) are going to be slightly different.
3) Exercise aerobically at least 5 times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time.
4) Don’t smoke or use recreational drugs. Aside from other obvious risks, these can both boost your BP levels.
5) Limit your alcohol consumption to 1 drink per day, max. While some studies say a glass of red wine each night can be good for your heart, over consumption of any alcoholic beverage can be damaging to your heart and increase blood pressure.
6) Cut back on the caffeine, which can increase BP in some people. The more often your BP is elevated for extended periods, the harder it is on your heart. There’s no need to cut it out completely, but you probably shouldn’t be drinking an energy drink, or even a soda, with every meal.
7) Try not to stress over little things, and find a stress relieving method that works for you. Stress, and other negative emotions can play a major role in heart health. Consider meditation, calming supplements, or simply avoiding those situations which cause you anxiety.