HI-TECH underpants that will help save men from heart attack and stroke.
So-called “smartpants” are being developed to monitor the blood pressure of wearers via sensors in the waistband that detect the speed of blood flow through arteries.
Currently only male pants are able to utilise the technology which isn’t suitable for women’s pants, because it could not be fitted into the thinner waist bands.
These smarty pants are part of a 4 year project to incorporate health monitoring systems into clothing, bedding and even household appliances.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease which is amongst the biggest killers, claiming many lives annually.
Despite the dangers and continued campaigns to encourage people to “know their numbers”, many are not aware they are living with the time bomb of high blood pressure.
A recent screening project found 51 % of 4000 adults tested had high blood pressure and were in danger.
Half of those tested did not know their blood pressure.
“We often call it the silent killer because there’s no symptoms of high blood pressure, and the only way to know that you have it is to have it measured with an accurate blood pressure monitor,” a spokesman said.
The underpants, being developed in Europe by technology giant Philips, use electrodes made of conductive rubber in the waistband of the pants to pick up electric signals from the central aorta, a major artery running down the middle of the body.
The signals indicate the time it takes for blood to travel through the artery.
Blood moves easily through a healthy body but labours through diseased vessels and arteries that have become hardened and clogged.
The data is then sent to a clip-on monitor worn on a trouser belt so it can be downloaded to computer for later analysis and relayed via broadband to online health record storage such as Microsoft’s Healt Vault or Google Health.
British Hypertension Society which clinically validates and test blood pressure monitors for accuracy has not commented so far on the accuracy of these undergarment devices but it is hoped that they are seen as a step forward in bringing the issue to the publics attention
For further information about measuring blood pressure the Blood Pressure Monitoring organisation has free factsheets “How to Measure Blood Pressure” and an up to date list of clinically Validated Blood Pressure Monitors.