Apple Watch is one of the several technological advances that have been made over the last decade have hugely changed the way we look at our health. ( Pixabay )
It may not have escaped your notice, that the technological advances that have been made over the last decade have hugely changed the way we look at our health. The first meaningful intrusion from tech into the consumer health industry was in the form of fitness trackers. With the first basic iteration being something akin to a glorified pedometer that simply counted your daily steps, the latest breed of fitness trackers are anything but simple. From reading blood pressure levels, to tracking running speed, the amount of data produced by these new gadgets can be mind boggling.
It all started with fitness
Take for example the the Apple Watch. This nifty little device is not a simple time keeper. In fact, the Apple Watch has been responsible for saving the lives of some if its users, due to the fact it can read a user’s heart rate and warn them of any anomalies. This is exactly what has happened to multiple users of the device when their heart rate rose (or fell) from their normal levels, and as such, gave an early warning that the user would previously not have had.
Another area in which technology has given us an advantage in regards to health, is with DNA testing. These days, detailed DNA profiles can be ascertained with the use ofa saliva swab, an up to 6 week wait time, and a nominal fee. Depending on which test you take, information such as where your DNA originates from, an in-depth look at how your ancestors lived, or whether or not you are likely to suffer for certain medical complaints later in life are just two areas of knowledge that can be explored. When it comes to health, knowledge is power, and as such these companies have become an extremely popular way to get an overview of what our bodies may be susceptible to, down the line.
Understanding our unique selves
From Alzheimer’s, to Parkinson’s disease, some DNA testing kits are providing users with a plethora of information that could change the user’s habits enough to help them avoid triggers that may encourage symptoms of a predisposed condition. This is turn, could end up not only saving lives, but also putting less stress on healthcare systems across the globe. If people become aware of how their body is performing on a daily basis, they are more likely to react accordingly should an early warning sign arise. If we start to look at our bodies in the same way we look at our cars, it could be a very good thing for society in the long run. After all, without that flashing red light, would you change your engine oil when needed, or would you occasionally put your car in a situation where it could be damaged? In this respect, having a ‘flashing red light’ monitoring our bodies can only be a good thing, and if early warning signs save lives, then they will also save money in the long run.
So where will this all lead in the future? Depending on where you get your news, you could be filled with a sense of dread at the upcoming dystopian future where you are tracked 24/7, or enthused by a world where technology will help you stay healthy, fit, and happy. No doubt there will be times when an eyebrow or two will be raised in regards to how we use the tech (as we are already experiencing), but it is worth remembering that we are in the infancy of this particular tech revolution. While there will always be detractors, the benefits of allowing technology to monitor and understand our health could be astronomical. The vast amount of data that we can now gather from our devices and our DNA will provide the medical field with an advantage, the likes of which we have never before seen. As such, we should be embracing the medical tech revolution, rather than shying away from the unknown.
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