FutureFive NZ - Could activity trackers help with heart problems?

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Could activity trackers help with heart problems?

People with heart problems should consider using mobile technology to aid their heart health, a recent survey suggests.

Last month, HealthMine completed a survey of 501 consumers with known heart disease and/or risk. The survey found that just 27% of people are using an activity tracker.

Of those, 16% of people are using their tracker to manage their heart condition and mitigate risk. Overall, a significant amount (74%) of people using an activity tracker say the device is helping them cope with their condition.

On the whole, HealthMine found that 31% of those with a heart condition/risk are using some type of mobile health tool to manage their condition/risk:

  • 50% are using an activity/fitness tracking device or app
  • 48% are using a blood pressure app
  • 47% are using a heart rate app
  • 38% are using a good/nutrition app

As for the 69% of consumers with heart problems who aren't using mobile health tools to manage their condition/risk, 36% say they prefer ‘traditional’ methods to manage their health, and 34% say they don't know which device/app to use.

Another 20% say they don't own a mobile device, and 15% find mobile health tools too confusing.

HealthMine's survey also found that 20% of respondents received a fitness or health-related gift for the holidays, and 10% say they were gifted a wearable activity tracker.

A number of people are living with some form of cardiovascular disease, and many have at least one of the three key risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking addiction.

According to The Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for 30% of deaths annually.

The survey says mobile devices and apps can provide a convenient way to help track risk factors and disease, including tools for self-data collection, fitness, diet, and more.

Bryce Williams, HealthMine CEO and president, says, "Being connected to your health data can make a difference.

"Millions of wearable fitness tracking devices will be incorporated into wellness programmes over the next few years.

“But they need to tie into a larger, clinically-based strategy to help consumers know where they stand with their health, what they need to do and stay motivated to do it,” he says.

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