Tuesday January 28, 2020

Apple Watches, Fitbits to be Used For Patient Care, Study Suggests

Wearable devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can be used to estimate exercise capacity and determine the health status of patients

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Apple Watch, Fitbit, health, patient, care
"The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case." Pixabay

Wearable devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can be used to estimate exercise capacity and determine the health status of patients, says a new study.

Determining how far patients with pulmonary disease can walk in six minutes has long been an effective clinical tool to help physicians determine their exercise capacity, as well as to aid in predicting health outcomes and mortality.

The new research suggests that devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can replace the standardised six-minute walk distance test, which is usually conducted in a clinical setting.

Data from wrist-worn step trackers may be used in clinical care at higher intervals to effectively monitor patient progress and disease management, said the study.

“For patients, this means we can track their progress more frequently in a manner that’s less expensive and more convenient than current standardised testing,” said lead investigator of the study Denitza Blagev from Intermountain Healthcare in the US.

The six-minute walk distance is an important, objective standard used to assess exercise capacity.

Patients walk for six minutes and, then based on how many metres they cover in that time, physicians can predict outcomes and mortality for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases.

Apple Watch, Fitbit, health, patient, care
Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease. Pixabay

“Normally, the 6WMD (six-minute walk distance) test is done every few months or once a year. Now, we may be able to measure patients on a regular basis and know if we need to intervene if their estimated 6WMD by step count changes,” said Blagev.

In the study, researchers conducted a 12-week, blinded, randomised, cross-over trial with 52 patients, a group that included adults with a history of respiratory problems during periods of elevated air pollution. Wrist step counters tracked patient steps for those 12 weeks and patients also filled out respiratory symptom questionnaires.

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Researchers found they could effectively estimate a patient’s six-minute walk distance results by using step counters, instead of having patients come in a clinical setting to do the test.

“Instead of having one measurement every few months, you could have weekly measurements, and have information at disease progression at more frequent intervals. This is a significant improvement and enhanced convenience for our patients,” said Blagev.

Findings from the study were were presented on Sunday at the European Respiratory Society International Congress meetings in Madrid. (IANS)

Next Story

Children of Mothers With Diabetes Are Likely To Suffer From Heart Diseases, Says Study

The researchers also found higher rates for specific types of CVD children of mothers with diabetes

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Diabetes
Diabetes was categorised as pregestational (before pregnancy) or gestational (during pregnancy) and women with diabetic complications were identified in the Study. Pixabay

Children of mothers with diabetes have increased rates of early onset cardiovascular disease or CVD (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels) from childhood up to the age of 40, the researchers have warned.

The increased rates were more pronounced among children of mothers with a history of CVD or diabetic complications, said the study published in the journal The BMJ.

“Our study provides evidence that children of mothers with diabetes, especially those with a history of CVD or with diabetic complications, had increased rates of early onset CVD throughout the early decades of life,” said study researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark.

If this association is shown to be causal, preventing, screening, and treating diabetes in women of childbearing age could be important not only for improving the health of the women but also for reducing long term risks of CVD in their offspring, the researchers added

The number of women diagnosed with diabetes before or during pregnancy has increased globally, and children of these women are more likely to have risk factors for future CVD, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. It is unclear, however, whether or to what extent exposure to diabetes in the womb increases the risk of developing CVD in offspring over a lifetime.

So an international team of researchers set out to evaluate associations between diabetes diagnosed before or during pregnancy and early onset CVD in children during their first four decades of life. They base their findings on national registry data for over 2.4 million children born without congenital heart disease in Denmark from 1977 to 2016.

Diabetes was categorised as pregestational (before pregnancy) or gestational (during pregnancy) and women with diabetic complications were identified.

Diabetes
Children of mothers with diabetes have increased rates of early onset cardiovascular disease or CVD (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels) from childhood up to the age of 40, the researchers have warned. Pixabay

Other potentially influential factors, such as mother’s age, education, lifestyle and medical history were also taken into account. During up to 40 years of follow-up, children of mothers with diabetes had a 29 per cent increased overall rate of early onset CVD compared with children of mothers who did not have diabetes (cumulative risks: 17.8 per cent vs 13.1 per cent ).

The researchers also found higher rates for specific types of CVD children of mothers with diabetes, particularly heart failure (45 per cent), hypertensive disease (78 per cent), deep vein thrombosis (82 per cent), and pulmonary embolism (91 per cent).

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Increased rates were seen in each age group in childhood (before 20 years of age) and early adulthood (from 20 to 40 years of age), regardless of the type of diabetes they were exposed to (pregestational or gestational) and rates were similar for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the study said. (IANS)