Chronic diseases account for 7 of 10 deaths in the US and are the leading causes of disability. When diseases are not treated to total recovery and turn chronic, people need effective disease management strategies. These may differ depending on the complexity of the condition, inpatient or at-home care, etc. Fortunately, many of the patients with chronic diseases do not require 24-hour hospital care. The primary requirement for maintaining their satisfactory state of health is to adhere steadily to the doctor's recommendations, take timely supportive medications, and stay in touch with the emergency contacts.
Critical questions that arise for family members in this regard are:
Different indicators and changes will point to various dangers. And we need a way to prevent as many life-threatening situations as possible.
This article will explain the importance of inactivity monitoring in personal emergency response systems for our loved ones with chronic diseases who want to stay active and independent.
Many dangerous conditions may happen to any chronically ill person. Of course, sticking to your treatment plan, seeing your doctor on time, and taking your medications is essential to reduce the risk of emergencies. But they cannot be completely ruled out if your relative or loved one has a chronic disease. Let's look at examples of conditions that threaten chronically ill people and the remedies for each.
Caused by extremely high or extremely low blood sugar levels, it is life-threatening as brain functions directly depend on the blood sugar level.
Every patient with diabetes has meetings with a personal Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) in the US. The CDE teaches patients some tips for preventing diabetic coma, including:
learning stress management,
following instructions for proper dosage and timing of medications and insulin,
checking and recording blood sugar levels at times recommended by the healthcare provider,
learning the effects of different types of exercise on blood sugar,
checking the urine for ketones when blood sugar levels are high.
But the most dangerous thing about the diabetic coma is that one is unconscious in this condition. The person cannot respond to the environment and cannot organize any help for themselves. And the coma leads to severe complications, even to sudden death. Therefore, no preventive measures cancel out the importance of continuous monitoring of patients with diabetes, primarily type 1 insulin-dependent patients. In a critical condition, a person cannot reach their emergency contact or press the panic button of their monitoring app, delaying the timely help that they need.
Six million Americans have heart failure yearly. For patients with chronic diseases, namely coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or obesity, heart failure is one of the most severe complications. Patients under remote monitoring, which includes regular visits and regular medication, are aware of the main symptoms:
extra fluid in the body,
fatigue and leg weakness,
shortness of breath,
But since every symptom separately may not indicate a dangerous condition, people with heart disease often miss the early stages. And the situation when it is no longer possible to call for help by oneself comes rather quickly. For home monitoring, you will also need a reliable personal response system or an app for chronic disease management with features to monitor alarming changes in your condition.
Epilepsy affects about 3 million people in the US and about 65 million people worldwide. It is essential to talk about the symptoms, treatment, and dangerous conditions associated with this chronic disease with such prevalence. There's still no cure for epilepsy, but medications and disease monitoring lead to effective chronic disease management. Among other things, it is vital for the patients' relatives to know the rules of behavior in case of a seizure:
after easing the person to the floor, turn the person gently onto one side to help them breathe,
clear the area around, removing anything hard or sharp for injury prevention,
support the person's head during a seizure,
remove or loosen all the tight clothing,
call 911 if the episode lasts 5 minutes or longer.
These are just a few of the examples of emergencies that need help. As you notice, all the recommendations concern the person next to one suffering from chronic diseases. The outcome and safety of a person with a chronic illness depend on seizure care. The importance of tracking the timing of seizures is also great, and a person with a chronic disease cannot do it on their own either.
Someone with a chronic illness needs to get help in time if their condition becomes critical. Even with all the awareness and physician oversight, unforeseen situations can arise. Therefore, patients with chronic diseases need more than regular visits for effective disease management.
Devices and software for digital health systems made significant progress in the last decade. COVID-2019 crisis boosted the overall telehealth system and introduced new technologies and possibilities for:
remote patient control devices,
apps for chronic disease management.
We've already listed five must-have apps for people living alone. For your loved ones suffering from chronic diseases, some particular features of the applications like inactivity monitoring might be essential.
Constant care may seem intrusive, but complications can develop very quickly in the case of chronic diseases. A planned or unplanned trip, increased physical activity, or stress may unexpectedly impact a chronically ill person's health. Our emergency contacts need to know that something has happened, even if a person under monitoring can't press the panic button. The inactivity monitoring function of the AllsWellAlert app informs us of a suspicious inactivity period. And the app is entirely unobtrusive: the person with a chronic disease sets the inactivity time by oneself. None of the activities are recorded, and the personal information stays safe and secure. No reporting, just notification of loved ones in the situation when the established period of "normal" inactivity increases. After a quick message or a call, we can regain peace of mind or respond in time to save the life of a relative with a chronic illness living or traveling on their own.
Try the AllsWellAlert app for free, and this personal safety and emergency alert system with inactivity monitoring will let you know when your loved ones need any help.