Gimme a Beat

The key to good health is all in the wrist.

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The Omron-630 measures blood pressure and pulse rate.

I'll admit it: I was skeptical of the Omron-630, a watch-like device designed to measure blood pressure and pulse rate easily and accurately. Where's the armband? Where's the stethoscope?

But after testing the $119 device (available at major drug stores) randomly for a weekend, I came away impressed. All of my electronic readings were within four points of the traditional readings (a nurse friend tagged along for fun -- no, she didn't wear her whites). I'll even go on record saying that the "oscillometric" system, which the device uses, is now my favorite noninvasive blood pressure measurement method.

I wasn't supposed to take readings while eating, exercising, or during times of stress. But that got boring, so I served up a few curveballs, just to see how the device would respond once my 35-year-old ticker started humming. As you see below, it didn't miss a beat.

No matter what I tried, the Omron-630 kept up.

Activity Blood Pressure Heart Rate
Resting on the couch 119/79 60
After a 5-mile run 101/65 143
5 minutes jumping rope 125/84 125
Triple-bogeying the 17th 129/87 123
Watching a "Baywatch" rerun 110/79 69