Human beings have come up with a huge range of ingenious health monitoring systems. Some are very simple – like the thermometer. Others, like the pulse oximeter, are more complex devices. All health monitoring devices have a role to play in personal healthcare and medical diagnosis. Here is a very brief guide to some of the most important types of health monitoring systems. All of these devices are available as at-home kits.
Blood Sugar Monitor
Diabetes is an illness characterized by an inability of the body to regulate blood glucose. In non-diabetics, blood sugar is regulated using the hormone insulin, which is created in the pancreas. People with diabetes need to use blood sugar monitoring devices to test their blood in order to determine their sugar levels. They can use this information to dictate the insulin or food they introduce into their bodies. Without blood sugar monitors, the control of diabetes would be incredibly hard. Blood sugar monitors were only invented in 1975. Before this invention, the control of diabetes was a much more laborious and dangerous affair.
Blood Pressure Monitor
The blood pressure meter – or monitor – is a near-ubiquitous medical monitoring device. Changes in blood pressure can indicate all sorts of health issues. Blood pressure meters are used as diagnostic tools, letting doctors determine if there is a cardiovascular issue behind an illness. They are also available as home kits. These home kits are not used for diagnosis. Instead, they are used to measure patterns in blood pressure that may indicate whether a medicine is working or if medical assistance is necessary.
Nearly half of all American adults have some form of hypertension – otherwise known as high blood pressure. For people with especially high blood pressure, home testing kits are usually prescribed so that monitoring can be regularly performed without the need for a doctor’s appointment.
A pulse oximeter is an ingenious little device that measures the amount of oxygen in a patient’s blood. It does this by beaming infrared light into a finger or toe. The amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is calculated by measuring the amount of light that is reflected back into the system. It is important to measure how much oxygen is being carried by the blood. This is because any dip in the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body could indicate a wider medical issue.
Viral Test Kits
By now, most people will be familiar with at-home coronavirus testing kits. These kits measure the number of antibodies being created within the body – which can indicate whether a person has coronavirus. Similar kits are also available that use antibody measurement to test for diseases like herpes. Home testing is the most efficient way of protecting a population from the spread of a virus.
An old-fashioned thermometer is still one of the most useful monitoring devices. High or low temperatures can indicate wider health problems and will often be a good indicator of the severity of an illness.