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Devices to help you stay healthy at home
Posted 2 July 2020
They say that prevention is better than cure and with health monitoring devices now available for use at home, it is even easier to be proactive about your health and wellbeing.
Blood pressure, blood glucose levels, weight, temperature, oxygen levels, heart rate and even the level of some medications can all be measured at home with relative ease and low cost. Wearable technologies also offer a range of biometric information, such as pulse, hydration levels, sleep and calorie tracking.
Monitoring yourself at home can be used in conjunction with doctor telehealth appointments where you can provide and discuss these results to your doctor over the phone.
Tien Giang, pharmacist at Terry White Chemmart Blackwood, says there are many benefits to tracking your body measurements and calculations, known as biometrics, while in the comfort of your own home.
“Home health monitoring allows you to do the measuring more often (where appropriate), and to take control of your health,” Tien says. “Also, in times like these, it means you can keep up the measuring while also maintaining social distancing.”
So, what are some of the easily available health devices you can use at home, and how can they help you maintain your wellbeing?
At home health devices
Used for centuries, the humble thermometer was one of the first devices used in the home to monitor family health. Thermometers detect changes in temperature associated with illnesses and can indicate when a person is seriously ill, such as children with fevers. Thermometers come in many forms – oral, rectal, forehead and ear and are a fundamental part of the home monitoring tool kit.
Blood pressure monitor
Reducing hypertension is good for everyone, and for those who suffer from ‘white coat hypertension’ (where they become nervous in the lead up to having their blood pressure taken by a health professional) at-home blood pressure monitoring can be far less stressful and offer a more accurate depiction of your BP. Perfect for those people with ongoing elevated blood pressure.
Blood glucose meter
Glucometers test your blood sugar level so you can better understand your diabetes and how different foods, medication and activities affect this. Glucose meters come with testing strips, small needles (lancets) to prick your finger, and a device to hold the needle.
Reads heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels. This device provides a painless measure of how well your heart is pumping oxygen to parts of your body that are furthest from your heart, such as your legs and arms. The device is useful for people with cardiac (heart) or respiratory (lung) conditions.
Scales and body composition scales
Scales that measure weight have come a long way from the simple dial scale. There are now scales that can measure, track and share your weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, calories, body water, muscle mass and bone mass. And the results can be shared to your smart phone via an app.
There are many brands and options out there, but most smartwatches will help you track your heart rate, number of steps per day, sleep cycle, hydration levels and fertility.
Air quality monitors
Whether you are suffering from allergies or asthma or just want to make sure your environment is as free from pollutants as possible, a personal air quality monitor can help. Alerting you in real time if there are hazardous substances in the air, you can then take action to reduce the problem.
Tracking the physiological signals of female fertility, wearable fertility bracelets can let women know when their body is most fertile and therefore the days they are more likely to conceive.
Results lead to more improvements
Tien says that by tracking our health at home, we see our health improvements faster. This makes us more likely to keep going with healthy behaviours such as lowering our salt or sugar intake and increasing our physical activity.
“Monitoring more regularly also means that if you notice a decline in your health, you can act early and prevent a more serious health incident,” Tien says. “People will still need to check in with their GP and pharmacist every so often to make sure their biometrics are being interpreted correctly, and that medication or intervention is not required. However, a proactive approach from the individual means that problems can be picked up earlier, and that some hospitalisations can be avoided. This can save money, time and heartache and can make for a healthier society.”
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