Medical professionals define a chronic condition as one that persists for more than three months. Loss of sight, strokes, and cancer are a few examples in a much longer list. Such conditions can be devastating and life-changing when they arise.
In most cases, there are no complete cures or ways to reverse such illnesses. The best healthcare solution is often to find ways that a patient can manage the condition. Even then, ideal management plans are a delicate balance of health and quality of life.
Technology has made massive contributions to the management of chronic conditions. The following are some tech devices that continue to transform the lives of millions of patients.
Diabetes comes about as a result of the body not being able to produce insulin or utilize it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body regulate the level of blood sugar. When your blood sugar is off, the ramifications can be life-threatening. You may suffer from:
- Renal failure
- Nerve damage
- Heart disease
It is, for this reason, that blood glucose monitors are so essential and more so due to the ‘dawn phenomenon’. It is an occurrence where blood sugar tends to be higher in the morning. Since diabetics are already insulin compromised they need to check their sugar levels when they wake.
Accurate digital monitors for home-use allow patients to live a more normal productive life. The constant anxiety of sugar spikes after meals is eliminated by a simple self-check. Taking charge of their own care also reduces costs in terms of hospital visits.
Diabetes is managed by the use of artificial insulin. Usually, patients inject themselves with recommended doses at certain times. It can be difficult to keep up with constant injections especially if you have an active lifestyle. Yet, skipping a dose can put your life at risk.
Therein comes the saving grace of an insulin pump. It is an automated device that is set to slowly release insulin into a patient’s bloodstream. You would be right to think of it as an artificial pancreas. The set can be worn around the waist, chest, or arm and delivers insulin through an injection site. It also comes with a reservoir to hold the insulin.
Some insulin pumps can be linked to a smart device and others come with a special remote control. Using either of the two, a patient can control the settings of recommended insulin levels known as basal and bolus. Overall, patients that use these pumps tend to have fewer blood sugar spikes and more accurate insulin dosages.
Blood Pressure Monitor
Hypertension is commonly referred to as a ‘silent killer’ because it is easy not to notice it. The symptoms can be deceptively subtle. A headache, palpitations, or fatigue that you mistakenly write off as normal exhaustion are all symptoms of elevated BP.
Scheduling a hospital visit every time your body feels off may be impractical hence the necessity of portable BP monitors. They come in many different designs although doctors recommend upper-arm measurements for accuracy. Devices such as Raycome BP measurement home kits that are designed to accommodate upper-arm readings would be ideal.
Learning how to check your blood pressure from home regularly is crucial especially for already diagnosed individuals. Unchecked BP damages blood vessels over time and makes them weak. It increases your risk of hemorrhagic strokes and heart disease.
It is a common expression to say that your heart ‘skipped a beat’. When that happens too often, doctors refer to it as arrhythmia. A heart should ideally beat at an average rate of between 60 to 100 beats per minute. If your heart beats much slower or faster than that, it may need regulation.
A pacemaker is an electronic device implanted into your heart to regulate the rate at which it beats. It consists of a pulse generator that creates regular electric signals. They are then sent to the heart using connectors called leads. It is the electrical signals that keep the heart beating in a proper rhythm.
Modern pacemakers can remotely send data to your doctor for monitoring and can alert them when it malfunctions. They are also more intuitive and sensitive to body movements. When you are more active they increase heart rate accordingly and also lower it when you are resting. For people with arrhythmic heart conditions, life would be impossible without pacemakers.
There are different levels of hearing impairment. They range from the ability to perceive some limited sound to being completely deaf. Hearing aids seek to help people throughout the spectrum of hearing loss.
Cochlear implants are recommendable to completely deaf people but it is important to note they do not restore hearing. Instead, they give deaf people the ability to perceive sound. One part of a cochlear implant is tucked behind the ear while the mother is implanted inside the near. It generally has four parts:
- A microphone to decipher sound from the surroundings
- A speech processor that interprets the sounds
- A transmitter that receives sounds and transforms them into electrical impulses
- Electrodes that transmits the electrical impulses to the auditory nerve
The brain is the final recipient of the functions transmission of the implant. A patient with an implant requires therapy so as to help them better understand the sounds they will perceive. For a person with no hearing at all, even a small capacity of hearing is life-altering.
Living with any kind of incapacitation is difficult both physically and mentally. When you are not able to fully participate in activities with loved ones, it deprives you of certain joys. Moreover, it may bring about feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
The hope is that as science advances, one day in the near future there will be cures for chronic conditions. For now, even though technological solutions are not curative, they are the next best thing.