We have come a long way with home diagnostics, as technologies have advanced to provide the home user with a wide array of diagnostic devices from thermometers to blood alcohol testers. Technology has delivered devices that can measure all manner of human physiologies, with accuracy comparable to those used by healthcare professionals.
We currently carry a variety of the available technologies which may repressent only a small selection of the devices currently being manufactured. As new, cheaper, more accurate chips and circuitry become available the nature of diagnostics will change. We will continue to monitor the introduction of new devices and make them available.
For now, the following products represent a sampling – an introduction to home diagnostics – with the focus on their us as monitoring and disease management tools. We are convinced however that like other technologies those focused on monitoring and measuring various human physiologic and biochemical parameters will become more sophisticated as well as less expensive. The next generation of devices is likely to be even less invasive, relying on laser sensors and biometric chips. We look forward to introducing these devices to our clients as they become available.
A thermometer is used to register temperatures of the human body. They can record body temperatures in the mouth (oral), armpit (axillary), eardrum (tympanic) or anus (rectal). These include mercury, liquid-in-glass, electronic with digital display, infrared or tympanic.
The thermometer is left in place for a period of time which is dependant on the model being used. If you are using a manual or mercury thermometer, you must shake it down so that the mercury level is below 37 degrees Celsius. If you are using a digital thermometer, simply press the button to turn it on.
Digital thermometers are a very good option. They are inexpensive and much quicker and easier to use than the manual mercury thermometers.
Blood Pressure Monitors
People diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure) use the blood pressure monitors to help monitor their heart health. Blood pressure can be measured manually (aneroid) or through the use of an automatic (electronic) cuff. The basic principal is the same for both. The cuff is inflated to temporarily cut off the blood flow through the brachial artery. The cuff is then slowly released and the point at which blood begins to intermittently flow the brachial artery is sensed. This is the systolic pressure. The diastolic pressure is when the flow goes from intermittent to a continuous flow.
Electronic Blood Pressure Monitor
The electronic blood pressure unit is patient friendly; there is no stethoscope required. They are self contained machines with a cuff attached to a battery operated or plug in unit. Although digital monitors vary in feature and function, most simply require that the user press the start button. The machine automatically inflates and deflates the cuff, then displays the blood pressure on the screen which is easy to read. Electronic blood pressure monitors utilize a sensor to detect the vibrations of the blood as it rushes through the arteries.
When using automatic blood pressure monitors the cuff is the key. If the cuff is too loose the readings produced are underestimating your blood pressure. If the cuff is too tight, it will produce a higher blood pressure reading. The cuff needs to be snug, where it doesn’t slide around the arm, but where you can still slide a finger under it. There are different cuff sizes available to accommodate all sizes of arms.
Aneroid Blood Pressure Monitor
An aneroid blood pressure monitor is a manual system that includes a cuff to which an inflation bulb and measurement dial are attached. Some models include a stethoscope, while others require one to be purchased separately. It is ideally operated by a trained person.
A stethoscope is an acoustic medical device for listening to the internal sounds of a body. It is used to listen to the lung and heart sounds. It can also be used to listen to intestines and for blood flow in arteries and veins.
Stethoscopes vary in their design and material. Most are made of Y-shaped rubber tubing. This shape allows sounds to enter the device at one end, travel up the tubes and through to the ear pieces. Many stethoscopes have a two-sided sound detecting device (head) that listeners can reverse, depending on whether they need to hear high or low frequencies. Listeners press the rim against the skin, using the bowl-shaped side to hear low pitched sounds. The flat side (diaphragm) detects high pitched sounds.
A stethoscope is also used in conjunction with an aneroid blood pressure unit (sphygmomanometer). The stethoscope detects sounds of blood passing through an artery.
Blood Alcohol Tester
Personal breathalyzers estimate the concentration of alcohol in the body by measuring the amount of alcohol exhaled from the lungs.
Because of their small size they are perfect for testing anyone, anywhere. It easily fits into a purse or pocket for an on-the-go lifestyles. Simply turn on the blood alcohol tester and blow. An estimate of Blood Alcohol Content will be displayed in seconds. A 0.02% reading is safe, between 0.02 and 0.05% is alarming, and above 0.05% is considered dangerous driving.