By Sarah Buhr
Chances are you only get your blood pressure checked maybe once or twice a year at the doctor’s office. You sit down in a relaxed setting near the waiting room while a nurse wraps a black velcro unit around your upper arm and pumps away. Perhaps the reading comes out a little high, but nothing to worry about. At least until you find yourself in a high stress situation, your blood pressure spikes and you end up having a stroke.
Going to your doctor twice a year isn’t the ideal way to get an accurate reading, says Bettir CEO Mike Chen. He and his four other co-founders, David Merriman, Ben Godlove, Nic Novak and Michael Rubin, were all friends at Oberlin when they started discussing the idea of going the startup route together. The band formed and through some health research, Bettir was born. It’s now Y Combinator-backed and ready to ship.
“We were thinking of doing something health related and blood pressure kept coming up,” Chen relays. He and another co-founder realized they actually have high blood pressure through their research. They’re in good company, too. One-third of all Americans suffer from high blood pressure, according to the CDC. One in 10 people have something called “masked hypertension.” This is the exact scenario provided in the beginning of this article. A person shows up as normal in the clinic, but has spikes in stressful situations that lead to serious problems. The typical person with this sort of problem is often young, male and in a stressful job or life situation.
Bettir aims to help people find out if they have high blood pressure spikes or masked hypertension throughout the day and at certain times by monitoring it 24/7 with an app.
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