Monitor Your Health According to the 2018 National Health Interview Survey, around half of American people have at least one chronic disease, thus health monitoring goes beyond fitness gadgets like Fitbits and Apple Watches. Depending on the condition(s) you have, you may need to regularly check your own metrics at home in addition to receiving professional medical care. Being confident in your ability to do this effectively can have a huge impact on your health. The same holds true if you have recently taken on the role of a loved one’s caregiver.
Though initially selecting the parameters you must monitor can be onerous, let alone selecting the finest tools for precise outcomes. Here is all the information you require regarding the health metrics you should monitor for some of the most prevalent illnesses in the US, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and more.
Remember that these tools work best when used under the supervision of a health care provider, and no at-home gadget can replace the cutting-edge equipment at a hospital.
If you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, monitoring your blood sugar can be crucial. Prediabetics may also benefit from blood sugar monitoring. You might need to monitor your blood sugar several times a day, depending on your condition and the advise of your doctor.
With a glucose test, which only requires a quick finger prick, you may monitor your blood sugar levels at home in the simplest and most cheapest manner possible. You can also spend money on a continuous glucose monitor for more thorough monitoring throughout the day without the need for finger pricks. Depending on how severe your diabetes is, your insurance might pay for a continuous glucose monitor.
A significant health indicator is cholesterol; having too much “bad” cholesterol (or LDL cholesterol) increases your chance of developing heart disease and stroke. Age and gender-specific ideal cholesterol ranges exist.
You can check your cholesterol at home, but it’s not a replacement for a legitimate medical test. Many at-home kits don’t distinguish between good and bad cholesterol; instead, they just measure the total quantity of cholesterol in your blood. According to Harvard Health, it can be difficult to follow the instructions without an expert by your side, which can affect the outcome.
The Mayo Clinic advises seeking for a home test that has been approved by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you decide to use one. And if the numbers in your findings are alarming, consult a specialist for a follow-up.
When you see the doctor, a nurse will take your blood pressure as one of the initial vital signs. According to the American Heart Association, it’s a crucial health indicator for everyone, but particularly for those with hypertension, or high blood pressure, and those who are at high risk for it. Anyone with other heart-related illnesses, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and/or preeclampsia may also benefit from it.
Only use a wrist blood pressure monitor if you can’t fit an upper arm cuff, according to the AHA, for the maximum level of accuracy. To achieve useful findings, just like with other home tests, you must measure accurately. More information can be found about taking your blood pressure at home.
Heart rhythm and rate
One of the simplest health indicators to monitor at home is your heart rate; all you need to do is take your pulse to do it. However, you might require a more effective method of monitoring your heart rate and rhythm if you suffer from atrial fibrillation or another abnormal heartbeat.
Home ECG monitors can help with that. They detect heart rate and rhythm and display the data on a chart. These devices are also known as ECG or EKG monitors. Personal ECGs are useful for acquiring readings at home that you can subsequently take to a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary, even though they aren’t quite as accurate as professional ECGs. Choose one that has received the Food and Drug Administration’s seal of approval.
Be aware that some smartwatches, including those from Apple, Fitbit, and other companies, feature ECG technology. Although an actual ECG monitor shouldn’t be replaced by a smartwatch because they are not medical devices, some people may find this feature beneficial.
During the COVID pandemic, home blood oxygen testing gained popularity. Low blood oxygen (below 90%) is one indication that it’s time to seek immediate medical attention when recovering from COVID at home. If you are concerned about your heart or lungs, monitoring your blood oxygen levels can be beneficial.
The most accurate way to monitor blood oxygen is with a pulse oximeter, which you can get online or at most drug stores. Some smartwatches can also measure blood oxygen levels, although the FDA hasn’t approved the majority of them for this use.
Unfortunately, even pulse oximeters that have received FDA approval have flaws. Studies demonstrate that they perform less accurately on skin that is darker, perhaps missing warning indicators. Researchers are still trying to find a solution for this problem.
In addition to your doctor’s office testing, measuring your lung function at home may be helpful if you have breathing issues or a lung ailment like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or even asthma.
A peak flow metre, which is accessible at most medicine stores, can be used to assess your lung function. For two to three weeks, measure and keep track of your highest readings every day. You can get assistance from your doctor in determining what a healthy reading is for you. Lung function can also be assessed at home using a spirometer.
Another simple measure to monitor at home using any common household scale is weight. Small, daily weight variations (around 5 pounds) are typical for most people and are caused by natural body processes like digestion and hormonal shifts.
But if you have a certain medical condition, like heart failure, it may be crucial to weigh yourself frequently in order to monitor how effectively your medication is working and whether your condition is getting worse. Unintentional weight gain or loss is a side effect of several medications as well as a sign of many other disorders.
Additionally dangerous to certain people’s mental health is weight tracking. You can decide if keeping an eye on your weight is a smart idea with the help of your doctor.
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