The Holy Grail of Health Monitoring Devices
Fitness Trackers

The Holy Grail of Health Monitoring Devices

Some of the biggest expenses a person will face are buying a home, meeting family needs, and educating their children. Besides that, you have to stay in good health and, in case of serious illness, face the costs of hospitalization, treatment, etc.

The costs of treating a critical illness can be astronomical. In my case, after my brother was injured in an accident that left him paraplegic, he incurred over a million dollars in hospital treatment and care before he succumbed to that injury. Even before his accident, he had significant health issues that were expensive to manage just to stay alive.

I had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery in 2012, and had good insurance that covered most of the over $200,000 in surgical and hospital costs.

This particular operation saved my life. But if I had monitored my health, especially my blood pressure, a pre-diabetic condition and other symptoms, as well as eaten better and exercised more, I could have avoided some of the drastic measures needed to maintain myself. urge.

In the early 1970s, the health industry began to stress the need for more aggressive health surveillance. Backed by the insurance industry, we have seen more advertisements and campaigns calling for people to stay healthy.

We also started to see more scientific advancements in nutrition, exercise science, and early personal health monitoring products. Most visible were home blood pressure measuring tools, early blood sugar test kits and various government programs aimed at encouraging people to be more aware of their health and the consequences if they failed to do so.

The evolution of personal health monitoring tools has grown tremendously and it is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Indeed, many vital health monitoring tools, such as heart rate, EKGs, exercise tracking, and more, are built into dedicated fitness trackers like Fitbit and our smartwatches.

Although blood glucose testing is mostly done by pricking a finger and getting the results on a dedicated handheld device, continuous blood glucose monitors (CGMs) are seeing steady growth. Indeed, one of CGM’s major suppliers, Dexcom, sold its millionth CGM earlier this year.

I use the Dexcom CGM, and although I can get the blood glucose result on my iPhone, I can also get it on my Apple Watch. Anytime I can look at my watch and see my blood sugar numbers instantly. Getting accurate blood sugar readings on the Apple Watch was a game-changer. This allows me to keep my blood sugar within normal ranges most of the time.

Blood glucose test kits and CGMs are essential tools for the 34.2 million diabetics in the United States and millions more around the world. But, more importantly, they provide people with diabetes with a serious monitoring tool to control the disease and help them lead relatively normal lives.

However, the biggest health problem facing the world is heart disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 17.9 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death, with more than 655,000 deaths attributed to it each year. However, it is important to note that many deaths from heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes and early detection and treatment.

The fact that heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes and early detection is critical. As I discovered in my thirties when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, keeping my blood pressure within normal ranges and eating better, and exercising was important to avoiding serious heart disease. But due to a stressful work schedule and constant travel, I ignored those warnings and paid for it in 2012 with a triple bypass.

My big excuse initially for not monitoring my blood pressure was that home blood pressure kits were bulky and relatively expensive. So I was taking blood pressure medication but I was not monitoring my blood pressure regularly. But today blood pressure kits have become much more affordable and smaller, and I now carry one in my suitcase when I travel.

However, the holy grail of health monitoring is to create a blood pressure monitoring system that is portable and can give a person an accurate BP reading at all times.

One company, Omron, has taken the lead in this area with its wearable blood pressure monitor called HeartGuide Blood Pressure Watch. In addition to monitoring blood pressure, it can track fitness, monitor sleep patterns, and set personal reminders. I had planned to see it at CES, but I missed it and haven’t had a chance to test it yet. But early reviews are solid, and to date, they have the leading portable blood pressure testing device on the market.

However, if Apple were able to deliver a similar feature on a future Apple Watch, this could be the product that tips the health balance towards reducing heart disease deaths in the future.

As the CDC points out, early detection is crucial to preventing heart disease. There’s a reason when you see a doctor in person, the first thing they do is take your blood pressure. This is because doctors know the risk of heart disease and it is called the “silent killer” because it is undetectable without a physical test.

If a person can take their BP at will and see any significant changes in their BP numbers and alert their doctor, they could minimize the risk of heart disease with early and consistent treatment.

I’m grateful for a CGM that gives me my blood sugar anytime, and the other health monitoring features available on fitness trackers and smartwatches.

But for millions of people, the holy grail of health monitoring will be affordable, widely available, wearable blood pressure monitoring tools that could dramatically reduce death rates from heart disease.

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