Fitness trackers, smartwatches, sleep monitoring gadgets, and others have long been part of the lives of many people. According to marketers, the market for wearable medical gadgets will grow by 20% by 2025. Thanks to them, you can track almost everything: pulse, sleep, pressure, breathing, and even stress levels.
However, not all companies use scientific methods when developing such devices, and even gadgets approved by medical specialists cannot always claim to be accurate diagnostics. We will talk about the main types of health trackers and how they work.
Health Monitoring Gadgets
Today, gadgets allow you to track almost all the indicators you need to control your health. However, there is no official confirmation that such devices give accurate results. So, even if you use them periodically, visiting specialists and passing a full examination are still necessary. However, gadget data can be used at the earliest stage of diagnosis to detect abnormalities and subsequently report this to the doctor.
Depending on the functions that gadgets perform, there are several main types of them:
Universal gadgets that can combine many functions and track pulse, pressure, and body temperature. Some models like the watch GT 3 pro Huawei support training programs and have a heart rate sensor and a pedometer. It is even able to determine the level of stress. To do this, measure such an indicator as HRV – heart rate variability. It is measured by changes in the time interval between heartbeats on a scale from 0 to 100.
Needed to measure blood glucose levels. Based on the data obtained, specialists can decide on the necessary measures for normal carbohydrate metabolism. There is no official confirmation that these devices can provide complete information for treatment, but they will be useful at the early diagnosis stage. According to statistics, almost half of the people in the world with diabetes (more than 200 million people) do not know about their diagnosis.
Sleep Tracking Gadgets
A similar function can be built into smartwatches or fitness trackers, but there are special devices (masks, glasses, headphones) that track the sleep schedule, as well as its stages. As a rule, these devices are built with an accelerometer – a sensor that tracks motor activity: it measures how many movements you make during sleep. However, the device is not able to provide enough data to estimate the time and quality of sleep.
Heart Rate Monitors
Devices that monitor heart rate. They are often used during sports, especially while running or cycling. With a beep, the device tells you to slow down because your heart rate is too high
Determine the saturation of the blood with oxygen. Such a device will be useful for people with a chronic lack of oxygen in the blood since those who suffer from hypoxia require constant monitoring. However, Dr. Paul Dellaripa, a rheumatologist who specializes in lung diseases at Harvard Hospital, warns that the device can give inaccurate readings if “you have poor circulation or cold fingers.”
The average character of measurements
The main source of data for any gadget is the heart rate. Based on the heart rate data, the necessary correlations are built. For example, respiratory coefficient, tracking sleep phases, productivity during training, and recovery after them. All this is evidenced by one of the aspects of the pulse, the heart rate (HR). The main problem with gadgets that you need to try to level out is the conventionality of formulas set on the basis of norms for your gender, age, weight, height, etc. The average temperature in the hospital may not reflect the real picture.
Insufficient measurement accuracy
The second problem, in addition to the conventionality of the formulas, is this: modern devices, regardless of their cost, sometimes lack measurement accuracy. Most of even the most expensive heart rate monitors sometimes show paranormal pulsations at rest or during exercise. This can happen due to a loose strap or sweat droplets on the photocell. If we are talking about training in water. Then the rays in it are refracted incorrectly, and this also gives a large percentage of errors.