Everyone gets stressed – whether it’s a looming work deadline, getting cut off in traffic, or having technical problems (the IT department just the spent the last hour troubleshooting my computer, so I’m a little amped), many things can cause your heart rate to speed up. And it's believed that constant stress can put your health at risk.
In today’s San Jose Mercury News, business columnist Mike Cassidy takes a look at Stress Check, an iPhone app created by Silicon Valley startup Azumio, which gauges your stress level and measures heartbeat changes by monitoring blood flow through your index finger. Stanford cardiologist Paul Zei, MD, who serves on Azumio's scientific advisory board, thinks the app is a reasonable way to begin to manage stress, "as long as you keep it in perspective and you're not using this to supplant appropriate medical care."
After reading the column, I was intrigued, so I downloaded Stress Check. Just like a Star Trek-style tricorder, the app detected my pulse and after about 2 minutes, a little scale popped up displaying my score. And what was my stress level? Medium. I was in a “state of alertness” and that my heart rate and stress levels were slightly activated. I blame spending my lunch hour working on that computer issue.