Diabetic Health Compass
New medical technologies to help manage diabetes are being innovated all the time and these intelligent devices can make the world of a difference in the overall wellness of diabetes patients.
Would you like to get fitter and lose a bit of weight. How can technology help? The latest smartwatches are now quite sophisticated, with health monitors that track your activity levels and heart rate to help you live a healthier life.
Will You use It? You’ve already got a fitness band in the drawer you never use. That is very common research shows – about half of fitness bands are abandoned after a few months because people get bored with being nagged to get up and walk around. Some can’t even tell the time, so you have to wear two things on your wrist.
Smartwatches, however, now offer much more. As well as health features, they can show texts and notify you when emails come in or when your Facebook feed has been updated. With some, you can even make contactless payments with a flick of your wrist, but their main claim is that they can give you more information about your health and well-being than a simple fitness band.
How do they take all these measurements? As with fitness bands, activity is tracked by an accelerometer that detects hand movements and analyses them to work out how many steps you are taking.
A barometer tracks you going upstairs. New smartwatches also have satellite positioning (GPS) which means they can detect overall movement to track sports such as cycling and rowing. They are also usually waterproof, so you can add swimming to the mix.
Smartwatches also have heart rate monitors that shine a light through the skin to ‘see’ blood vessels below and measure beats due to the pulse (as opposed to chest straps that measure the heart’s electrical activity), although the accuracy goes off a bit if you exercise really hard.
What health factors can smartwatches monitor? The main one is exercise. General activity is monitored well and running is accurately recorded. Sports such as swimming require you to set the watch specially, so whole sessions can go unrecorded if you forget to press a button.
In common with fitness bands, smartwatches claim to give an indication of calories burned, but research shows these estimates are unreliable.
Another feature is calorie counting, but you have to log the weight of every item and life is too short for most of us.
Both smartwatches and fitness bands monitor sleep, detecting periods of rapid eye movement (REM) to indicate deep sleep. Unfortunately, the claimed ‘sleep quality’ metrics are not terribly accurate and most of us will remove the watch overnight to charge it.
Smartwatches by brands such as Samsung boast fitness functions. Apple Watches will only work with iPhones.
E264 – Health and Wellbeing Technology to Prove Your Commitment – www.diabetic.today