According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. In 2013 alone, 289,758 American women died from the condition – one in every four female deaths that year. To help combat the disease with early diagnosis, a start-up out of MIT has created a Smart Bra aimed at improving women’s cardiac health.
The CDC reports that only half of women recognize heart disease as the leading cause of mortality for females.
It might be that women often view heart disease the same way that men see breast cancer: a potentially fatal condition, yes, but that it just doesn’t affect each sex the same way. Due, in part, to this misconception that heart disease is a predominately male occurrence, women may not pay as close attention to monitoring their heart health as they should.
Women might be from Venus and Men may be from Mars, and either gender may very well use their hearts and feelings differently. However, rock bottom on both planets, men and women are still united by the fact they both have a heart. Therefore, regularly and closely monitoring cardiac health is crucial for both sexes.
Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bloomer Tech has developed a “Smart Bra” fitted with sensors that monitor cardiac activity.
Made of flexible materials and washable circuits, the device reads electrocardiogram signals from the heart and sends the data to your smartphone or primary physician.
The device can also measure other vital signs and metrics to keep track of an individual’s general health as well.
Co-founder Alicia Chong explains that “by using a bra, the form factor of medical devices changes to ‘regular clothes’.”
Holiday Gift for that Special Someone?
Despite the enormous potential that Bloomer Tech’s concept has, for now, the Smart Bra is still in the development phase. However, with a powerful prototype and proof of concept, the company is already busy gathering testers via Facebook. The startup hopes to begin testing in January 2017. Following testing, Bloomer Tech estimates they’ll be able to release the Smart Bra within a year.
However, with a powerful prototype and proof of concept, the company is already busy gathering testers via Facebook. The startup hopes to begin testing in January 2017. Following testing, Bloomer Tech estimates they’ll be able to release the Smart Bra within a year.
Following adequate testing, Bloomer Tech estimates they’ll be able to commercially release the Smart Bra within one year.
“The CDC reports that only half of women recognize heart disease as the leading cause of mortality for females.”
Knowing Your Health by Heart
As the team developing the Smart Bra have pointed out, female cardiac health is still not a well-documented or highly-publicized subject. What has been observed is that between the genders there are very different markers of a healthy heart.
While it’s true that heart disease symptoms and treatments do differ for men and women, identifying early warning signs is the key to prevention regardless of patient gender. Genetic predispositions almost certainly play a role in developing the condition, but heart disease is largely preventable.
Equipped with the knowledge that women’s heart disease is just as prevalent as men’s and that prevention is possible, commercially viable wearable devices like the Smart Bra will help more people discover and treat potentially serious conditions. The hope is that these sorts of monitoring devices will encourage people to be aware of (and more proactive in taking care of) their overall health.