family thinks Iím a bit of a hypochondriac, but at my
age I want to head off potential problems before they
turn into ones that require expensive medical attention.
have a portable blood-pressure set. To check my blood
sugar level, I have a set of lancets and test strips. A
drop of blood makes the doctor go away.
a year I have comprehensive blood tests at my HMOís
laboratory. I get my teeth cleaned three times a year.
I exercise: a 40-minutes brisk walk early in the morning
and two 35-minute sessions on my recumbent bike. Itís
no wonder that I can still fog a mirror.
so, when I heard about a device about the size of a
stick of gum that took EKGs, I had to have it.
AliveCor Kardia Mobile communicates with a smartphone or
tablet through the microphone. Like an EKG at the doctorís
office, the Kardia Mobile traces heart rhythm ó and it
displays results after a 30-second session. Two fingers
are placed on each of the two sensors, and the device,
which weighs less than two ounces, sorts it all out. If
your heart rhythm is normal, youíll get that message
on your smartphone. Heart rhythm problems are displayed,
too, along with background information. People with
atrial fibrillation will know if they need to see their
cardiologist and whether the medication theyíre taking
first EKG is sent to a cardiologist, and within 24 hours
the results are sent via email to your inbox. After
that, you can email the results to your cardiologist or
to yourself for framing purposes, as in "hereís
how a septuagenarianís EKG should look."
a premium plan in which EKGs can be stored, among other
features. The premium plan is necessary for using with
the optional Apple Watch EKG. The first month is free,
and then it costs $10 a month. I chose the basic plan,
which tells me how my heart is doing, along with how
fast my heart beats when I find a new gadget.
are downsides to the Kardia Mobile. The device canít
be used near a computer or other electronic device.
Sometimes it takes several minutes for it to connect to
my iPhone. And way-too-often, it will give me messages
that a proper reading canít be made. About two out of
five attempts work as advertised. For some, that may be
when it works, itís a joy to see, especially if youíre
concerned about your heart health. It wonít take the
place of the EKG you get in your doctorís office, but
at best, it will give you a heads-up that something is
device costs $99 from either Amazon.com or alivcor.com.
A band for an Apple Watch, with the sensor built into
the band, costs $199.