5 Major Illnesses Wearables Could Combat in the Medical Health Industry
A combination of fitness trackers, smartwatches and sensor technology are already disrupting the health industry. Commercially it is booming business but there is still an area of the industry that receives a lot less media coverage but holds equal potential. Medical health, which is something close to our hearts quite literally.
There are problems people face every day that come with chronic illnesses and old age. In a lot of cases, the disease are currently incurable. With the increased adoption of smart devices, there is a plethora of new innovations that are set address these issues. This makes wearables an exciting market as it tackles major illnesses one after another.
Here we have identified 5 major illnesses that wearables could combat in the medical health industry:
Technically, insulin pumps are a form of wearables and has been around as far back as 1981. Although, automatically delivering doses of insulin into the body is only the start. Over the last few years there are some very exciting innovations that are either already available or in production. For instance:
● Key players in the market are working on technology that will be able to measure sugar levels through the skin using ultrasound
● Also interesting, is rumoured a 5 mm long sensor that’s inserted under the skin. Although there is work to be done as a scanner is needed to see the results and it has to be replaced every two weeks.
● Google is also developing a contact lens which uses tear fluid to measure a number of health-related factors.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is a scary and difficult reality for many aging people and their families. As memories start to fade, a number of problems — both emotional and practical — start to unfold. The elderly may not be as quick to adopt smart devices but there’s a lot of room to embrace smartwatch technology in order to make their lives easier.
Here are some features being developed for the smartwatch that should be particularly useful.
● Timely notifications: As set reminders to take medicine or perform other basic tasks to maintain their health
● GPS tracking: for the many carers and family members constantly concerned that their loved one might go wandering off and not find their way back. These in-built tracking capabilities can give peace of mind and provide a more functional life
● Sleep monitors: As sleep problems often plague sufferers, and irregular sleep patterns can lead to further complications, such as reminiscence loss and night-time wandering. Tracking would very useful for times when patients cannot always remember or identify these problems.
Autism has been known to take over the lives of the person with the condition along with his or her family. Parents often have to make difficult career decisions such as quitting in order to provide full time care.
Yet despite all the time they dedicate, it’s still incredibly difficult to understand what their child is feeling. Researchers are set to change this as they are already using wristbands to detect arousal in children with autism. Giving parents a more accurate indication of their child needs.
4. Neck and back issues
One of the unfortunate consequences of our relationship with technology is bad posture. Being hunched over a screen of any size will inevitably cause back and neck issues. Now there is a solution round the corner.
Valedo is just one of the companies developing a product which detects problems with your posture. It works through sensors that you place under your chin and on your back, which then assess what you’re doing wrong and tells you how to fix it.
Wearables devices will also aid in solving this problem on a broader basis. As we move away from screens held in front of our faces, our postures will no longer need be compromised to make use of technology.
5. Cardiovascular and lung conditions
Conditions affecting your vitals such asthma, abnormality in heart rate are made easier to track with wearable technology. Early detection is becoming more accessible with new innovations playing an important part in early diagnoses which could be the difference between life and death. This will make it much more difficult for illness to creep up on you.
The Bigger Picture
In a broader sense, wearable technology is transforming the health industry by providing unique opportunities for research. With mainstream adoption, the amount of data that can be collected and analysed is immense. This will lead to clinical trials becoming less costly and more manageable, as well as providing information that could lead to discoveries regarding the nature of certain illnesses. Discoveries that will lead to new treatments and preventative measures.
As a wearables startup, we’re excited about the health possibilities our product can provide. It’s an important part of our development goals and of major importance to life itself. We hope our open source approach will give experts the opportunity to create their own medical components into the Blocks smartwatch.