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Types of personal heart rate monitors

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Andrew, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I think that would have the same vulnerability as wrist ones using optics. But it sounds like you have to be pretty vigorous in arm/hand movements to interfere with readings. So unless you're boxing, or pumping your arms very energetically while you walk, etc, it might not be a factor at all. If your finger monitor is reliable for your normal activities, the wrist band (even without motion detector to compensate) would probably work fine.
    Sasha likes this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I want an Alpha Mio ... should have hella good accuracy, does lots of fun stuff, has bluetooth, etc, and it looks sexy :cool:

    Maybe I'll ask for it for Valentine's Day :love:
  3. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    mine was a chinese ebay purchase too. You can compare two devices by using both at the same time (which is what i did) or you can measure your pulse manually (watch and finger) while wearing one (which is what i did with my original strap one).
    Sasha likes this.
  4. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    My newest Omron doesn't need contact gel or water and still reads consistently, unlike earlier HR monitors I had. It also doesn't seem to get as nasty as earlier ones I've had. I suppose the technology is improving. I can even were it low on my rib cage and get good readings. Depending on what I'll be doing and how sensitive my skin is, I'll wear the chest strap under my bra band, just below it, or even 2-3" below it.
  5. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    The reviews I read about wrist ones would have been at least 3 years ago because that's when I was researching to get my heart rate monitor. I expect the technology should have improved since then and they could easily be more accurate now.

    I tolerate my chest strap but a strapless one would be far more comfortable. I too have the Omron HC100 and I find it cooperates better with some bras than others depending on how they are shaped right where the solid plastic bit of the monitor sits.

    The info that came with the monitor says waterproof I think to 50 metres. The first time I needed to change batteries I went to a jeweller because they test the waterproofness after changing the battery and he said he wouldn't classify it as waterproof but that it would be water resistant - ok for washing hands and getting the odd splash. I don't think I'd shower with it. Since then I've changed the batteries myself without any difficulty.
  6. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    Thanks for this topic Andrew, it's good to look at it again and see what new ones are coming on the market.

    I'd be cautious for me in buying one that uses optic sensors until I'd heard some good feedback from a number of people. The heart rate apps on the iphone which use the same principle have no trouble picking up my husband's heart rate in any position but they will only find mine when I am lying down or sitting. As soon as I stand up they can't find a pulse.
  7. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I've heard that's because they can't deal with arrhythmias many of us get standing or changing position. The software sees it as an error in reading rather than what it is -- an accurate reading of an error in our HR regulation. ;)
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Make and model?
  9. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Mine is a Contec. I lent it to my brother, so dont have it to hand, but I think it is this one:


    It cost about £60 a year or so ago, you can get cheaper ones now for about £20 on ebay - I dont know if they are any good, but they may be as good. Mine is good, but its fidely because of the single button that controls everything (on/off, orientation, menu access, setting change etc), but i think most are like this.

    It's worth checking reviews, checking videos on youtube first to get an idea of what you want.

    Hope that helps.
  10. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I'm wondering if maybe I've just been lucky. My chest strap one is a Timex. I do splash a little water on myself before putting it on in the morning, but then it's been fine all day every time (even when I'm not particularly sweaty :)). And I haven't yet needed to change the battery (though as mentioned, I don't wear it continuously every day, just days now and then).

    I do find that because my skin is super sensitive and damaged these days, it can get a bit painful where it rubs against me by the end of the day, but I think that's more of an issue with whatever's gone wrong with my skin than the monitor itself. I also shred my hand trying to open a water bottle. :rolleyes:
  11. Research 1st

    Research 1st

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    The safest way to assess any pulse or oxygen concerns it to get a proper assessment by your doctor. That's the best way. Outside of this being available to you or because you aren't concerned but simply interested medically how your body works, then the cheapest way to demonstrate and archive pulse abnormalities of your own would be to purchase a modestly priced pulse oximeter that you place your finger into and then film the footage.

    If your pulse rate was abnormal over time or you were getting apparent exertion hypoxia (and post exertion) this might interest your physician if they are currently not interested in exercise intolerance that you may find is limiting your mobility. However, If people are considering collecting data on their pulse rates and oxygen levels in a correct manner it would be beneficial if you get a high quality wrist-type pulse oximeter with a memory function rather than a finger-type device without.

    Professional grade oximeters come with varying types of detachable finger probes that are self supporting (won't fall off), essentially meaning you can lay, sit, walk along go to sleep with it on your finger...unlike the finger type that will fall off in bed (brushing on bed sheets) when outside (on clothing). Having a oximeter clamped on your finger can be painful for long periods and I wouldn't advise wearing a potentially tight device that may cause your finger to be squashed and dent the tissue above your fingernail area. You could experiment though to see if you could manage a 12 or 24hr stint (if the device has a 24hr memory function) and therefore you could have a whole days monitoring of pulse rate and oxygen levels measured in the finger. Pretty neat!

    Sasha asked how would you know if a device is accurate. The devices in Europe are CE marked with various coding that when you read these codes demonstrates on what category it lays in. The same must apply in the US and other countries.

    Although professional grade monitors are prohibitively expensive for most people they can be a good investment because you can have the option on some models of downloading your data onto your PC (probably windows based) and saving the data to analyse at a later date, with software. (Software that is usually not included with the product and again very expensive). The major benefit of software is you can print your data out to show other medical professionals in a readable form. Simply telling a doctor ''hey my pulse is x,y,z'' won't usually make most medical professionals act upon this because they need evidence and also need to know how it could be relevant, if at all.

    So the main difficulty with attempting to be your own amateur exercise physiologist is cost.Cost wise you're looking at spending $1200-$2300 or more for a high quality pulse oximeter that is certified as accurate and used in the health services. The vast majority of people don't need such devices and simple cheaper system will do.

    Pulse oximeters aren't fool proof and you can get the wrong idea about having adverse events because of your symptoms at the time. For example operational factors, can affect readings on your finger that give false readings. These include poor perfusion (such as cold hands from poor circulation, cold fingers from an adrenaline rush (anxiety from symptoms), and physically moving the device from movement or shaking). From this you can understand one can be quite aghast at what is being read at first, until you realise what is being read is an error. Usually there is a few seconds wait, maybe up to 30 seconds, before things can be considered accurate if all the above have been discounted.

    Additionally to be extra cautious don't buy an oximeter and rely on its findings for a long time if you have physical symptoms that haven't been addressed or explained by a qualified medical doctor. One may observe a reading of a normal oxygen saturation (Spo2) displayed on one of these devices and think all is well, but be unaware (because it's not measured) that your respiratory rate is elevated and compensatory in nature therefore creating the illusion you have normal or healthy blood oxygen levels when you don't.

    In the rights hands and with informed advice a quality pulse oximeter can be a useful medical tool that people at home can have to measure chronic health conditions of the nature of ME CFS and Oi. Certainly never rely on these devices if you have asthma or other serious conditions that can affect breathing/circulation/oxygen levels. If someone with these conditions is having an attack of distressing symptoms this would require a call to the emergency services rather than wanting to document pulse rates due to an avid interest in autonomic dysfunction as a keen medical hobbyist. Common sense, but worth mentioning if you have an illness that is no believed and you don't want to feel you are causing a fuss. Having worries over chest pain, rapid or weak pulse and breathing difficulty is never causing a fuss, despite what some may say to you in ER when they send you on your way with no answer. Safety first.
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  12. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    I agree, and if you are in the UK then a sleep study is accessible under the NHS. You will probably have to be persistent, as i was, but particularly as sleep issues are a part of ME/CFS you can get one.
    It is treatable for at least some people, but a seeing a proper experienced sleep consultant and having a sleep study will pinpoint the problems you have more accurately, meaning its more likely to be treated properly.
    You may have to travel though, i had to travel a three hour round trip and i had to do that four times. For some this may not be practical; thats where a home device may be useful, particuarly for getting some initial readings. If it shows you have problems then clearly its worth seeing someone about, but if it showed no problems, then although not conclusive, you might decide not to bother.

    My finger one has a memory, perhaps not all do, so worth getting one that does. Mine you connect it to you computer and download the results and it builds graphs for you to show your data, allowing you to see what happened in various segments of time.

    They do come off, but you can fix that easily with a bit of surgical tape. In fairness, they even do this in the hospital with their own devices for the exact same reason (at least in the one i went to - Oxford Radcliffe. They do leave an indent, but its not terrible - it doenst hurt, and the mark disappears in ten minutes once you take it off. At least that was my experience with the model i have.[/quote]

    Software came with it in my case. You probably can pay for more advanced stuff, i dont know, but i found what came with mine to be enough.

    I'll have to see if mine is certified or not, but even if not it's reports were accurate: they picked up the same problems as my official sleep study did (though the official study also tested a lot of other things in addition). My one cost £60, and for that sort of money i think its a bargain. Still, i agree with Research 1st that a qualified sleep consultant who is experienced in these sorts of things is really worth seeing if you have, or suspect you have a sleep problem, even if you are confident in your own ability and read lots of papers on sleep, you wont have (most of us anyway) the hands-on experience and drugs knowledge that a sleep specialist will.

    Also, some people do get misdiagnosed as having ME/CFS but actually turn out to have sleep apnoea, which can lead to similar symptoms. So this is well worth rulling out, especially if you dont have immune system disregulation and/or are more than a little overweight.
    Valentijn likes this.
  13. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Usually I over research, but this time I made an impulse buy. I got a Nonin Onyx Vantage 9590. It wasn't cheap, but it was recommended as a professional level device.

    I read that "SpO2 of greater than 95% is generally considered to be normal. An SpO2 of 92% or less (at sea level) suggests hypoxemia." I've checked mine several times. It's 92%.
  14. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    Andrew

    Just wondering how you're going on with your Nonin- happy with it?
  15. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    I'm satisfied with it. I don't use it a lot. Just check my heart from time to time. It's not the type of device you would wear for any length of time.

    One thing I learned is that this horrible body feeling I get is associated with higher heart beat.
  16. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    That good Andrew at least it tells you something, its that 'what is this feeling' and when we get answers its so satisfying.
    I did want one that I could wear for perhaps a day at a time - not every day but probably once a week so I'll keep looking.
  17. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    I have used this one since the end of 2011
    http://www.bhipltd.co.uk/heartratemonitor/bhip9-heart-rate-monitor.html

    I found the chest strap uncomfortable so I bought some elastic, threaded that through and just tie a knot in it to wear the monitor.

    Not being able to get personal testing, I just set the upper and lower alarms by taking the normal for my age and going within that. The alarms show that my heart rate corresponds closely with how I feel. Some days I can manage a flight of stairs (slowly!) others reaching for a glass of water triggers the alarm.

    I don't have to wear it very often now as it has taught me to trust my instincts.

    Mithriel
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  18. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    Mithriel
    I couldn't see the chest monitor - the link shows a wrist monitor?
  19. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    BTW, my HR monitor also proved its worth when I had to go to Urgent Care with an arrythmia. I just showed them my watch and was whisked onto a gurney and into treatment.

    Then they hooked me up to an ECG but my monitor was very accurate.

    Sushi
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  20. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    Maryb, that is the computer part so they just show that, the bit that goes on your chest just sends the signal. I forgot to say that I bought a tube of gel with it and just put a dab on the terminals so I don't have to wet them.

    The cheap models don't have a memory so wouldn't work the way Sushi's does.

    Mithriel
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