Take control of your health with these quick and easy at-home medical gadgets.
We lead busy lives. Many of us feel the pressure to stretch ourselves so thinly — work, family commitments, social commitments, household chores, exercise, meal prep— that we leave no time to look after our health. When we’re buckling under the demands of our hectic lives, one of the first things that we tend to let fall by the wayside is our routine medical checkups. Whether you’re struggling to find the time to have a full medical checkup or you’re unable to see your doctor due to the backlog of appointments created during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some gadgets you can use to monitor your health at home.
We’ve compiled a list of 3 gadgets you need in your home to monitor your health.
Monitor your blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter
Monitoring your blood oxygen levels is especially important if you suffer from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), COVID-19, or other heart or respiratory issues. One of the quickest and most effective ways to measure the oxygen levels in your blood at home is by using a pulse oximeter. This small gadget clips onto your finger to monitor how well your heart is pumping oxygen around the body. Detecting drops in oxygen levels early is key to avoiding more serious conditions.
How to test your blood oxygen levels
When testing your blood oxygen levels at home, follow the steps below:
- Don’t take the reading in direct sunlight
- Clip the device onto your finger (remove false nails and nail polish in advance)
- Wait for the pulse oximeter to take your reading
- Check your reading the display screen
- Write down your reading and note any fluctuations in your blood oxygen levels
Pulse oximeters have been shown to be accurate to within 2%. A healthy blood oxygen saturation level is 95% or above. However, those with existing medical conditions may show lower readings. If you’re unsure, always consult with your doctor. If you show a reading of 92% or below, this could indicate hypoxemia or a lack of oxygen reaching the extremities. If your reading is low and you don’t have any medical history to explain it, contact a medical professional immediately, this could be a sign of an underlying issue.
2. Monitor Your Heart Health With An ECG
If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart issues, regular monitoring of your heart health is crucial. ECG, short for electrocardiogram, measures your heart rate and rhythm. At-home ECG devices are now widely available and most are even compatible with smartphones, allowing you to monitor your heart health if you are unable to visit a doctor.
It’s particularly important to carry out regular at-home ECGs if you have a family history of heart disease, you suffer from high blood pressure, or you have been experiencing other symptoms of heart disease, like chest pain, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat.
How to check your heart health
Here are some tips on how to take more accurate readings with a personal-use ECG:
- Sit down and take a few moments to relax before taking the reading
- Avoid measuring your heart rate directly after exercise
- Try not to drink cold liquids before you take the reading
- Ensure the skin is dry.
- Make sure there is nothing between the ECG sensors and the skin.
- Remove jewellery such as necklaces that may come into contact with the ECG sensors
- Have regular checkups with your doctor
3. Measure Your Blood Pressure With A Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent condition that can eventually lead to health issues such as stroke or heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), anyone who suffers from high blood pressure should monitor their blood pressure at home. Reliable, easy-to-use digital Blood Pressure Monitors, as found on Sensoronics, are available without a prescription, making it easy to measure and monitor your blood pressure levels regularly from home. In general, a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or below. Blood pressure readings between 120/80 and 140/90 could indicate prehypertension, while above 140/90 is considered high. If you’ve been diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension, regular blood pressure monitoring is essential in managing the conditions. For accurate use and results, it’s important to have your doctor check your digital blood pressure monitor before use and annually after that.
How to accurately measure your blood pressure at home
Before measuring your blood pressure, read the following tips:
- Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat, drink alcohol or caffeine, or consume tobacco to measure your blood pressure
- Go to the bathroom before taking the test
- Sit quietly and calmly for 3 to 5 minutes
- Get in a comfortable seated position, with your back supported and your legs uncrossed
- Raise your left arm to your heart and lean it on a desk or other hard surface
- Wrap the cuff around your left arm, leaving enough room to fit one fingertip beneath the cuff
- Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed about 1 inch above the crease of the elbow
As tempting as it can be to avoid health checks, it only makes things worse. Now, more than ever, it’s important to invest in your health and get in the habit of carrying out regular home health checks. Not only does it give you peace of mind, but early detection could very well save your life. As a growing number of home health monitoring gadgets hit the market, it has become easier than ever to carry out accurate health checks from the comfort of your own home. Don’t let your busy lifestyle or pandemic-induced medical centre backlogs get in the way; take action by performing regular home health checks and never missing medical checkups.
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