Could Wearable Fitness Tech Help You Reach Goals?

diabetes technologyPatients with diabetes have long looked to technology to help them in managing their disease. As rates of obesity and diabetes continue to go up around the world, more and more individuals are turning to wearable fitness technologies, such as Fitbit, a line of tracking apps that collects data on the amount of exercise and calories an individual consumes. The market has largely been dominated by fitness-related technologies, but increasingly scientists and researchers are asking the question: why not use these devices and their associated apps for monitoring chronic medical conditions? While most diabetics are likely familiar with diabetic log books and other diabetic accessories that help to track blood glucose levels, activity rates, and other important pieces of data, the technology available is moving in a direction to make it so that monitoring and treating can be done from a smart phone. This won’t, of course, mean that diabetics can stop buying things like Accuchek lancets or Prodigy test strips, it could mean a more streamlined approach to treatment and maintenance.

 

According to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association, wearable monitors are one of the most sought-after items in fitness technology. The CEA release stated that, “Consumer interest in purchasing dedicated wearable fitness devices in the next 12 months quadrupled to 13% in 2013, from just 3% in 2012.” The ownership of the devices tripled—from 3% to 9% of consumers surveyed, in the same period of time. Among the factors that get credit for the boom in interest, the constant connectivity of Bluetooth technology offers a real time, always-updated functionality that has been missing from previous years. It’s much easier for consumers to keep track of their vital statistics when a device is monitoring and sending the information to their phones or computers. The devices are also becoming more sophisticated, with newer generation products offering sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and other important figures for users. Mobile apps are also being developed, meaning to take the place of diabetes log books and other diabetic accessories.

 

Newer apps such as MySugr, which is intended for diabetics, allow consumers to track their blood glucose readings and levels of physical activity. As an added bonus, many of the apps encourage reaching goals—whether fitness or glucose-control oriented—by offering points for success that can be traded in for prizes. Researchers do caution that a market for wearable fitness technology that can be used to monitor the progress of chronic diseases such as diabetes is still on the horizon; while fitness trackers and devices have been a consumer market, something that monitors health-related information would be more of an interest for the medical community, who will have to be convinced of the trustworthiness of the technology. But if you’re working with your doctor to lose weight, for example, the existing products may be helpful for you on their own. While you’re looking at prices for Accuchek lancets or Prodigy test strips, consider researching the market for wearable devices as well. For many diabetics, charting physical activity can be a frustrating task; certainly it requires a little extra effort. But with products on the market that do the tracking for you, it makes it easier to work with your doctor to understand the best possible ways to lose weight or simply incorporate more physical activity in your daily life.

 

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