Hours: M-F 8AM - 5PM - Closed for Lunch: 1PM - 2PM - Virtual Hours: 12PM - 1PM


5 Health Monitoring Devices Everyone Should Own

01 - Sep - 2021 Navarro Medical

A woman is taking her blood pressure on a tableThe pandemic has reinforced the essential role of taking preventative measures to avoid getting sick, which includes being proactive with home health monitoring. Such data can catch early signs of illness and help your physician have a clearer picture of possible underlying conditions. As a result, your doctor can form an effective treatment plan or the next step for a more accurate diagnosis. Ready to get started with your health monitoring at home? Here are five devices everyone should use from time to time and particularly when experiencing symptoms to keep track of their vitals and help their physicians provide a proper diagnosis.

Weight Scales
Scales are probably the most commonly purchased of the five devices, and you likely already have one in your bathroom that, when used appropriately, can support a healthy lifestyle and provide a key indicator when not getting enough exercise or good nutrition. Weight fluctuations can be an indicator of a poor diet or lack of exercise, but they can also suggest an underlying medical concern is developing.

Certainly, up to a few pounds difference is nothing to be alarmed about. Your body goes through a weight change to some degree throughout the day and can have slight variances at certain times of the month. Also, different scales will often report a somewhat different weight. However, that difference should be reasonably close to what you expect to see based on your last weight measurement and age.

Periodically weighing yourself on the same scale at the same time of day while wearing similar weighted clothing can answer the question of whether the difference you found on the other scale is due to a true change in weight or a calibration factor. It is important to note that the recommended frequency for weighing yourself is typically monthly or up to once or twice per week as an effective strategy for health monitoring as well as weight management. For more specific information, contact your primary care physician to set weight goals and a plan for an effective weigh-in strategy.

Blood Pressure Cuff
Your blood pressure is another key indicator of underlying conditions and allows those with high blood pressure to check for changes in between regular wellness visits and scheduled doctor appointments. High blood pressure can be associated with strokes, heart attacks, conditions involving poor circulation, aneurysms, and dementia or memory loss. On the other hand, severe or ongoing low blood pressure could also be a sign of a health concern that should be discussed with your doctor. Unusually low blood pressure could be due to a large number of health concerns including arrhythmias, nerve damage, dehydration, or heart failure. A blood pressure monitor can help you or a blood pressure cuff with a stethoscope can help you and your doctor determine if your blood pressure is holding steady at certain times of the day under the same stress-related conditions. Be sure to be read and follow all of the instructions that come with your blood pressure monitoring system closely to stay consistent in your readings for a more accurate assessment of your health. Furthermore, it may help to speak with your physician about taking reading while sitting versus standing for your monitoring strategy.

Pulse oximeter
Much like your weight and blood pressure readings, knowing your average blood oxygen level is also beneficial in detecting potential medical concerns early for faster, less costly, and more effective treatment options. Physicians may recommend patients with medical conditions that affect their breathing, such as those who have been diagnosed with asthma, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) use a pulse oximeter to record changes in their blood oxygen levels. However, such data may also be useful for those experiencing symptoms of a respiratory disease, such as COVID-19. Plus, like the other devices on this list, pulse oximeters are painless and offer a fast reading to get a clear baseline with monthly at-home monitoring check-ins.

Whether you prefer a no-touch or traditional thermometer, be sure to properly store at least one or two in your home that is handy for quick access should you or a family member begin to exhibit signs of a fever. Since fevers could be an indication of a virus, bacterial infection, an inflammatory disease, or other medical conditions that may require treatment, it is important to contact your doctor if an adult has a fever over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. For children, contact your physician if your child feels warm and has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. It may help to take the child's temperature with your thermometer a few times to help you make sure you have an accurate reading. Should additional symptoms occur along with the fever, including mild symptoms, contact your physician, no matter the age of the patient. 

We know you thought we would say a SmartWatch for heart monitoring. SmartWatches that offer health monitoring are also useful. However, they can be inaccurate and they are limited in their data collection. That's why every household should both own a stethoscope and learn how to use it to hear and count heartbeats, listen for clear lungs, and detect uncommon sounds related to the heart, lungs, and stomach. Best of all, they won't send your data to third parties. Thus, if that is a concern for you, a stethoscope is an extremely helpful tool to have in your home medical kit.

What if I Detect a Change With My Monitoring Devices?
Hopefully, you are monitoring your health with the above tools at least occasionally between your wellness visits with your physician. Certainly, these tools should be used when you are experiencing unusual symptoms or your physician has suggested collecting data between visits for a more complete understanding of your health. If the reading you receive is a significant change and is not tied to specific circumstances that would create such a change, it is important to contact your physician with the updated information and find out if an office visit is suggested. If you live in the Lake Wales, Florida area, our office accepts new patients and walk-in appointments. For lower wait times, we suggest scheduling an appointment by contacting our team at (863) 949-6541 or using our online patient portal. We look forward to helping you find the most effective treatment plan options, including non-invasive methods, for your medical needs.