It can point to some serious heart risks.
Your bathroom scale can already tell you how your weight-loss program is going. But one day soon, it may be able to provide even more information about your health, according to researchers from Kaunas University of Technology.
The engineers took the standard body composition scale and cranked it up a couple levels. Body comp scales use electric sensors on their footpads to measure your pulse, which gives readings on things like hydration level, body fat, and lean muscle.
But by creating a device that measures the speed of your pulse wave from heart to feet, the researchers have configured the scale to spit out information about your blood vessels. The faster the speed, the stiffer your arteries—and that can signal the development of atherosclerosis, or the thickening or hardening of your artery walls due to plaque buildup, they said in a press release. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The engineers are also working to program the scales to identify irregular heartbeats and hyperkalemia, or high potassium in your blood. Once the scale notices the potentially life-threatening issue, it’ll notify your doctor, who will adjust treatment options accordingly.
All in all, the experts believe their scale will be able to measure more than 20 various health parameters, they say. And it won’t be pricey, either—since it won’t need the expensive materials of a smartphone, it should be affordable enough to make its way to any household.