On Monday morning, users of Nokia’s Body Cardio scale were the recipients of a jarring email. It was announced that the scale, which tracks pulse wave velocity (PWV) and other health statistics such as BMI and heart rate, would have its PWV tracking feature removed, reducing the product to little more than a regular smart scale. The update was scheduled to happen just two days after the announcement and would be automatic and compulsory.
PWV tracking is gaining momentum among the technically-minded, health conscious population. Research continues to prove its validity as a bellwether metric for cardiac and brain health, capable of assessing for risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia, and as indicative of overall internal health. The broad implications of this metric have inspired us at iHeart to interpret the data as Internal Age.
iHeart, which focuses specifically on PWV of the aorta, the body’s largest and central artery that runs from the chest to the abdomen directly in front of the spinal column, calculates Internal Age by comparing readings to a graph of age averages. After assessing Aortic PWV, the device presents users with their Internal Age, which is an indication of where they rank among the averagely healthy population. The goal with iHeart is to drive Internal Age down over time by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, thus reducing risk of cardiovascular and brain disease and increasing internal organ functionality.
What Exactly Is Pulse Wave Velocity Measuring?
Aortic PWV is a measure of stiffness of the aorta. Literally interpreted, it is the velocity (speed) at which pulse waves move through the aorta. As the heart pumps oxygenated blood down the aorta, pressure waves reflect off of the various tributaries in it that redirect blood around the body. These pressure waves travel back towards the heart, which is prepared to handle these reflections to an extent. As the aorta stiffens with age and poor health, these pressure waves travel at an increased rate and collide with the heart before it’s ready to receive them. A suppler aorta will reduce the speed at which these pressure waves travel and will reduce their impact on the heart, thus prolonging its longevity.
As pulse wave velocity increases in speed, Core Mobility is reduced and the internal organs receive less of a massaging effect with each pulse. This massaging effect is important for organ function and circulation, and is part of how PWV can be used to assess overall organ health in the body’s core.
How Does iHeart Measure Pulse Wave Velocity?
The visualization of a pulse waveform is broken down into three different sections: Primary Wave, Aortic Reflected Wave, and Dicrotic Wave. Timing of the Aortic Reflected Wave is closely related to aortic stiffness. As the aorta branches out (and eventually divides into the legs) to direct blood around the body, the Primary Wave of pressure from the originating heartbeat reflects off of these connections, back along its walls, through the heart and down the arms. By measuring the difference in arrival times between the Primary Wave that was sent down the arms and the Aortic Reflected Wave that follows it, we are are able to measure AoPWV with a fingertip monitor.
It is important to recognize that not all PWV measurements are good indicators of health and predictive for risk of illness. iHeart is the only consumer device capable of specifically measuring aortic PWV, the only metric able to assess overall health and predict lifespan.
In the wake of the Nokia announcement, we're offering 10% off iHeart with the code PULSEWAVEVELOCITY.