Life & Style

8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

doctor looking microscope

This article is courtesy of Positive Health Wellness

We hear all the time about how technology is bad for us. We spend more time sitting at a desk than moving around at work, and have created this sedentary lifestyle that is causing havoc in our overall life.

What if I were to tell you that technology has produced benefits? Would you believe me if I said that technology is good for your health?

You may be able to think of a couple of ways the computer has helped, but you are still stuck on all the negatives ‘experts’ have shared in the past. The problem with the ‘experts’ is that they are so focused on the negatives, they haven’t looked at the benefits.

So let’s consider all the ways technology improves our health.

Technology Is Everywhere in Medicine

group of scientists working at the laboratory

Scientists working at lab. Image: Torwaistudio

Before we move onto the benefits, it’s worth discussing how technology is used, because it’s found everywhere in medicine. Think about the x-ray machines, MRI scanners, and even the research equipment used daily – that’s all technology.

People use it every day of the week to find cures to ailments, discover why diseases spread and create ways to prevent illness. Individuals are performing tasks far more accurately than they ever did before.

And this beneficial tech isn’t just in our hospitals, it’s used in your own doctor’s office and even at home. It’s used to prolong and create a better quality of life for those on around the clock care. And these improvements don’t lead to only better physical health, they support better mental health which in turn improves the physical health. Technology improves connections and relationships, offering support to everyone.

We can’t get rid of technology, because if we did, it would be a detriment. Here are eight ways technology is improving our health and our lives.

It Pushes Us to Do More Activity

Sure, technology has led to us sitting more, it’s also helped push us to do more activity.

Take the Fitbit, pedometers, and apps that track our steps. They all encourage us to meet our daily targets — setting personal targets to get us to walk more and meet the goals we know are realistic to us, because reaching 10,000 steps a day isn’t realistic for all of us.

Being able to track and manage these goals allow us to see a finish line, and help to motivate us to work that bit harder. These apps and devices look for ways to improve our chances of meeting these goals, and involve getting us out and doing more. Some even involve doing home workouts and walking on the spot to increase our step count.

The aim for so many of these new devices isn’t just to improve your activity levels, but to improve your overall lifestyle. Some will help with monitoring your sleep patterns to ensuring you drink enough water throughout the day.

A bonus is they’re simple to set up too. Most involve some type of phone app or computer software to sign up and sync to your device, and then you’re ready to go off and work out.

Better Ability for Communication Between Doctors and Patients

Thanks to the internet, most people in Australia will have online access to a doctor, or the ability to search for a local doctor. A number of these sites also offer chat boxes with medical staff who can offer support and advice.

In the case these chat boxes aren’t available, phones have made it easier to communicate and talk to a genuine doctor, nurse or support professional. This is the case with many emergency medical phone numbers, who can then arrange out of hours’ appointment when the case is necessary.

More Ability to Do Research into Problems

The internet has certainly opened the ability to research. We all tend to turn to Google. An individual search basic information and use it to decide whether their symptoms need immediate attention. Those already with a diagnosis can take to the internet to do further research on ways they can improve their condition, and even reach out to those with the same diagnosis. There has been a surge in communities developing involving people with similar needs, such as groups for those in wheelchairs who share advice and wheelchair friendly venues.

Those caring for people with certain conditions can also get some support and help, with online support groups for carers, friends and family. Suddenly the world doesn’t seem as isolating, which can quickly help to improve the mental health.

It’s important to use the internet sparingly as it can unfortunately also have the opposite effect and make the health worse. You spend all this time researching conditions and fearing the worst you end up with problems with anxiety, or you can get caught up in your own research when you really should be talking to a real doctor. Also, make sure you always check where the information is coming from. Was it written by a medical professional People can write absolutely anything, and there is plenty of misinformation online.

There Are Devices That Keep the Body Working as It Should

Close up of electrocardiograph with stethoscope and pacemaker

Electrocardiograph with stethoscope and pacemaker. Image: Swapan Photography

Technological advancements have led to the development of technology which helps to keep the body working as it should.

The pacemaker is one development, which is used for those with heart conditions. The pacemaker, a small electrical battery-less device powered by the heart’s rhythms sends electrical currents into the heart to prevent it from suffering from spasms, a lifesaver for so many people.

Pacemakers aren’t the only devices that help to keep the body working as it should. Bypass machines also help to sustain organ health while waiting for treatments or transplants. They are also used during surgeries to protect the health while undergoing certain transplants and operations.

There also technology that keeps organs working while they are outside of the body which is important for the transportation of organs for transplants. This technology will also help to reduce the problem of long donor lists. While the donor organ may not be a match for anyone immediately or anyone within a hospital immediately, the organ can be kept alive while waiting for a recipient to become eligible.

Better Treatment Options for Various Ailments and Diseases

It’s no secret treatments have advanced in recent years to the point where some ailments are virtually unheard of. Vaccinations and various medical advances have completely eradicated the likes of smallpox and resulted in polio being less common and far more treatable.

Some of the advances have only come in the last few years, and are all due to technology. We’re able to do more research and test without the use of animals and humans. There are ways to create vaccinations and treatments without putting people at risk, increasing the chance of a better quality of life. Just look at how HIV treatments have changed since the disease was noted in the early 1980s. It is now at a point where, in certain parts of the world, the virus rarely has chance to develop into AIDS.

Even cancer patients have better life expectancies than they would have done in earlier years. There is the technology for earlier diagnosis and treatments to eradicate the cancerous cells. While not all is successful, there are certainly some positive steps due to technology advancements.

Some of the treatments are to help keep the body working until a cure or transplant is possible. For example, dialysis is used by many patients waiting for organ transplants. Dialysis helps to remove the waste from the body when the kidneys will no longer do the work for them. This is an intermediate treatment option to keep someone alive while they wait for a kidney transplant.

And we can’t forget about the ongoing research. This isn’t just about the treatment options but how the viruses work and adapt. While there are vaccinations and treatments available, there is always something new that comes out.

To top all this off, technology has opened the chance of developing organs and valves. There are studies into 3D printing organs and heart valves to help support the health and life of an individual. The printing would use a person’s own cells to reduce the risk of rejecting organs, improving life expectancy and treatment of conditions.

There is still a long way to go until all the research is finished. In fact, it will never be finished. However, technology is opening doors to improve the health in ways that wouldn’t have been imagined just 50 years ago.

Improved Prediction of Diagnosis and Life Expectancy

Ever wondered if you could get a disease later in life? Maybe you wonder if a current symptom is a sign you could develop a condition, or how long you have left to live when you are diagnosed with a condition.

Technology has helped to improve the prediction process of a diagnosis. Doctors have information in one place and can see all the symptoms at the same time. They have formulas to work out averages of when a condition occurs.

Perhaps you’ve just been told that you are a pre-diabetic. This doesn’t mean you have it, but that you have a high risk of developing it if you continue in the way that you are going. Before technological advances, you wouldn’t have any warning you could potentially going to develop diabetes, you would only find out you have it, when you do. Thanks to these advancements, people can now change their lifestyle to prevent it from occurring.

Technology has made it possible for information to be kept in one place, updated in real life. Once blood test results come back, they can be added directly to your file; a file that is visible by any doctor by looking up your own details. Your family doctor has your hospital records, even if the records have nothing to do with a current ailment.

While looking at all this information, doctors can see similarities and warning signs earlier. They can see symptoms that crossover and lead to specific conditions—similarities that could have been overlooked due to loss of paperwork or not having all the information in one place.

Technology has allowed for the creation of algorithms. Doctors can input certain figures and information into the algorithm to get the information that they need. There is more information stored about other patients with the same condition to help ensure that the algorithms got it right. There is just far more accuracy to help with the life expectancy prediction because of technology.

With better prediction, people aren’t just living healthier and changing their overall lifestyle. Their mental health is supported. Patients find that they can act and are more interested in doing so.

Faster and More Accurate Diagnosis of Conditions

While the prediction side of diagnosis is improved, technology also improves the accuracy of a diagnosis. Like before, doctors gather all the information in one place and will be able to keep an eye on results more closely. They can also put together symptoms and signs sooner than before, meaning an earlier diagnosis for many people.

There have been many cases where doctors haven’t had all the information, and in some cases, the conditions are so rare doctors haven’t even bothered considering them. As a result, people lose out on time with their family due to a lack of diagnosis or incorrect treatment

In some cases, the technology hasn’t been fast enough to get blood work back, has been too poor to assess all the symptoms, the waiting list is too long or scans aren’t clear enough, so earlier symptoms aren’t picked up in time.

Technology Improves Recording of Information in Real Time

Indian doctor talking with female patient in doctors office.

Doctor talking with female patient in doctors office. Image: Stuart Jenner

Many of the benefits mentioned above rely on an accurate and timely recording of information. There is no denying incorrect or delayed recording of symptoms between doctors has led to issues of conditions not being diagnosed and the right treatment not being administered.

Technology has made it better for the recording of information with many doctors now updating information on tablets and smart devices, meaning information can be updated in real time.

This has also allowed for a better way of managing patients, where nurses, doctors and receptionists are able to quickly see a clients visit history.

There is also the ability for the software to alert doctors to a problem. Doctors may have set the wrong dosage for medication, or there may be an issue with clashing medication, so doctors are now able to immediately see any mistakes.

This article is courtesy of Positive Health Wellness, and was originally published by Karen Reed. Read the original article here.