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Medical marvels: The devices that save your life

Technology is not just about smartphones. It has also revolutionized the way we look at our health. In part I of the series, we list out tools that are changing the way patients look at health, writes Shikha Sharma.

brunch Updated: Aug 09, 2014 20:05 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

Medicine is one of the oldest professions in the world, and even though it’s come a long way, there is still so much to learn. Now, medicine is trying to understand the environment and how it affects our health, and it’s also investigating genetics and ageing. But when it began, medicine was a matter of trial and error, with wise men of the tribes trying to learn which herb and decoction would bring relief to the sick.

Over time, doctors got access to tools that helped them better diagnose patients and manage or cure illnesses. Now, these tools not only help doctors serve their patients better, but are also changing the way patients take care of themselves.

Early devices now used at home

Thermometer: This is a small device, but it’s a great help in learning the real state of a patient’s fever. Once only doctors had them. Now we all have a thermometer at home.

Blood pressure measuring machine:Saves people from medical emergencies by providing vital information at home.

Blood glucose check at home: Many glucometers are available for home use so that blood glucose can be monitored without medical supervision and the patient can prevent catastrophic hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

CPAP machine: This helps patients of severe sleep disorders, who almost choke at night due to lack of oxygen while they’re asleep.

Pregnancy check kit: Years ago, you needed a battery of tests to know if you were pregnant. Now a small strip with enzymes diagnoses the state in a few minutes. The kit has molecules which attach themselves to certain proteins in the urine which are only produced on conception. A pregnancy detection kit can detect pregnancy as early as one week after conception.

Inhalers:They deliver the right dose of medicine to prevent an asthmatic attack. During an attack, medicines can’t enter the lungs because of narrowed airways. But thanks to technology, an inhaler can deliver the medicine into the airways and prevent attacks.

Yes, technology has brought many benefits to patients. Learn more in my column next week.

(To be continued)
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