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Smartwatch to Support People with Hypertension

Useful insight

I call my parents almost everyday and last time I called I had a chance to talk with my mom about her hypertension (which is very common to age) and how her new smartwatch helps.

My mother has been dealing with hypertension since over a decade ago - the disease got worse when she was pregnant with my youngest brother about 4 years ago (she was 43 at that time). One day my dad caught her collapsing in the living room, it was her hypertension and she was then hospitalised for 3 nights. 

Working from day to day, sometimes over the weekends - may have caused her to overlook on herself and the precautionary steps that needs to be taken to reduce her blood pressure (ie taking medications). So my dad got her a new smartwatch that can monitor her blood pressure (among other features) and she said that it has been very helpful for her. The smartwatch comes handy to her as she no longer needs the blood pressure monitor from time to time.

But the thing is with this technology, it is very expensive and only limited to features such as monitoring blood pressure, walking/running steps and heartbeat. I am aware that the readily-available, more expensive smartwatch models are able do so much than stated but for her, even the basic one is more than enough to get going. 

With my mom's experience using a smartwatch, I believe that this technology is a very helpful tool that can be further developed into having much more added features such as reminder to take medication, reminder to doctor's appointment, body temperature, glucose level in blood and so on. 

edited on Jan 11, 2021 by Shahirah Khairuddin
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Miroslava Katsur 9 months ago

Dear Shahirah, I cannot imagine how hard it has been for your mother and all your family to deal with hypertension episodes of your mother. I cannot find the right words to say, but I hope that your mother have good medical and emotional support and that she will feel better with appropriate changes in her life.

I am happy to hear that your father got her a smartwatch to monitor her blood pressure. How did it help her to change her lifestyle, medication, or something else what improved her wellbeing?

I checked that there are some smartwatches that remind of appointments and track body temperature. However, they come at a higher cost than standard blood pressure watches. I wish there was a discount for people with specific health conditions, or people could design watches so that they are cheaper. Since it may not happen soon, I wonder whether your mother would like to try using calendar in her phone or email for notifications? My grandparents use alarms for regular medications and calendars for the appointments.

I am interested why do you think measuring body temperature would be desirable? I guess that when the person is overheated, then the blood pressure will be harder to control. Is it the reason why you would like to see this function on smart watches or there are any others?

I totally agree that it would be beneficial for your mother to have a watch which could measure glucose level. This is something I posted on this forum previously, but I had only diabetic people in mind. Now, I realise that people with different cardiac conditions would benefit from such watch to prevent diabetes. So, such glucose meter which does not require finger pricks is doable, but it is still yet to be developed, as I understand.

Also, do you think your mother would benefit from a smart watch which would alert her about when her blood pressure passes a certain treshold, or alert your father if your mother loses her consciousness? I hope that you can make sure that the home enviroment is as safe as possible so that if she falls, she does not hurt herself badly. My grandma fell a lot over the past years, and we put lots of carpets, soft cushionings, etc. just to minimise her injuries if she falls again... I hope it won't happen with your mother though.

Thank you for this insight into this condition! Much appreciated.

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Shahirah Khairuddin 9 months ago

Hi Miroslava, thank you for the feedback!

I'm glad that the smartwatch has been very useful for my mum - not only because of being able to consistently monitor her blood pressure, but also because she sticks to her regular schedule to take medications. From what she mentioned to me the other day, the smartwatch hasn't alerted anything up to this point - which is a good sign! About the appointment scheduler, I'm pretty sure that she's keeping in track with her doctor's appointments using calendar on her phone. The hospital would also remind her a few days before so that is very helpful.

Regarding the temperature and blood glucose level monitor, I just think that it would be useful to have those features equipped with the smartwatch as well. Since the smartwatch would cost a fortune, it might be worth the price if it comes with a lot more added features. The temperature and blood glucose level are what I could think of. My grandmother is a diabetes patient (due to family history) and I just think that it would be better if my mom's smartwatch is able to monitor her glucose level as well, as a precaution. Not only that, I came across an article that proves how much a smartwatch can help (https://nypost.com/2019/11/23/apple-watch-sav...art-condition/), so I highly think that it can help people who age. However the cost associated with owning one remains as the main issue.

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Miroslava Katsur 9 months ago

Hi Shahirah, and thanks for the reply! I checked the link you sent and it is amazing how a simple smartwatch can detect irregular heartbeat or falls and alert the user or medical services. This is exactly what would be great to have to save many lives and reduce NHS costs, but these watches are currently expensive. Hopefully, the price will fall for such watches.

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Miroslava Katsur 9 months ago

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