0

Tag: blood pressure

Applications of Digital Health Technologies

The primary issue that consumes the majority of the burden of healthcare costs in the United States is preventable chronic disease: while the most prevalent health conditions are simultaneously the most avoidable, they continue to cost the country’s budget billions of dollars. While overall numbers have decreased since 2010, when chronic disease cost the U.S. a total of $315 billion, morbid obesity rates have continued to rapidly spike—a condition that leads to a range of critical health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Primary care providers have long faced the struggle of determining how to implement best practice care for patients diagnosed with chronic diseases. Recent studies indicate that almost half of the entire U.S. population has at least one chronic health condition—including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, or arthritis. Statistics designate these health care treatments costs to account for 86% of cumulative national healthcare spending, and the CDC reports that chronic conditions are the leading causes of death and disability in the country.

Yet the past decade has seen the advent and proliferation of digital health technology, spurring the generation of new techniques and strategies for healthcare professionals to utilize in chronic disease management. These types of technology vary in terms of accessibility and usability, but include remote monitoring, mobile health apps installable on phones, and wireless wearables—which serve as activity trackers.

A series of interviews conducted by Medical News Today demonstrate a bright future for the potential of new technology, and its ability to spur and provide high-quality care. Suzanne Falck, MD, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, noted that a highly successful digital tool is currently in use for the management of heart failure: an implanted sensor immediately transmits data to a healthcare practitioner, who then analyzes the data in order to make medical recommendations. Further clinical trials and studies indicate that remote monitoring is more cost-effective than traditional, conventional management.

Read more

Music Helps Improve Heart Health

Studies show that music not only boosts one’s mood, but also helps overall wellness–and may improve heart health. “There is no other stimulus on earth that simultaneously engages our brains as widely as music does,” says Brian Harris, certified neurologic music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. In addition to engaging the auditory system, music also activates many other parts of the brain, including those responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion. Harris notes that this global activation happens when listening to music, playing an instrument, or even informally singing in the car or shower.

Music can also alter brain chemistry, and these changes may produce cardiovascular benefits, as evidenced by a number of different studies. Studies have found that listening to music may:

  • Enable people to exercise longer during cardiac stress testing done on a treadmill or stationary bike
  • Improve blood vessel function by relaxing arteries
  • Help heart rate and blood pressure levels to return to baseline more quickly after physical exertion
  • Ease anxiety in heart attack survivors
  • Help people recovering from heart surgery to feel less pain and anxiety.

Read more