As the leading cause of death worldwide, the World Health Organization states that cardiovascular disease needs to be monitored on a regular basis. With the use of devices such as the LOOKEE® Personal ECG/ EKG, keeping track of cardiovascular health on the go has never been easier!
How Do ECGs Monitor Cardiovascular Health?
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG or EKG, is a procedure performed by a physician or cardiologist to examine the heart's electrical activity as well as its rhythm. Individuals who suffer from cardiovascular conditions undergo this test to understand the cause of cardiac abnormalities as well as the appropriate treatment that needs to be considered thereafter.
During an ECG, a patient will be required to lay down. Patches known as electrodes are placed onto the body and attached to a machine via ECG leads. A monitor will display the current resting heart rate. The data recorded will be printed out and given to the patient, which can be analyzed by their doctor. This procedure is known as a resting ECG test. While It is painless and only takes a few minutes, it is important to remain as still as possible to get accurate results.
Other ECG tests include a stress ECG and an ambulatory ECG. A stress ECG is undergone by patients who experience cardiovascular complications triggered by physical activities and exercise. During this procedure, electrodes are also used to monitor the heart's rhythm; however, the specialist will require that a patient walks on a treadmill while doing so. This is to track how the heart functions when physical activity takes place. Patients typically experience an increased heart rate and deeper breathing, but the procedure will be stopped if there is any discomfort. Just like in a resting ECG test, the data is recorded and printed out for a doctor to analyze.
Ambulatory ECG tests include devices known as Holter monitors. They differ from resting and stress ECGs in that they are performed for individuals who experience heart complications that do not occur frequently. Since standard ECG tests only track the heart's activity for a few minutes, a Holter monitor is used to carry out the same procedure for a period between 24 to 48 hours. In rarer cases where heart activity needs to be monitored over a longer period, a surgically implanted device known as a cardiac event recorder may be used. They are similar to Holter monitors, except they can continuously monitor the heart for up to 3 years.
The Convenience of Portable ECG Monitors
Portable ECG monitors can be used at home to keep track of heart health. They prove to be a convenient alternative to standard ECG tests. The LOOKEE® Personal ECG / EKG Heart Monitor allows older adults to monitor irregular heartbeats that occur as a result of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AFib), premature ventricular contraction (PVC), bradycardia & tachycardia.
The device comes with electrode pads that allow for a complete 5 minute ECG, just like one done in a doctor's room. With the built-in phone and PC app, seniors can get accurate readings of their heart's performance on the spot. They can also convert the data into a PDF report to send to their doctor via email.
Portable ECG Heart Monitors
VS. Traditional ECG Tests
Book an appointment and travel to a specialist's room.
Maintain social distancing regulations while waiting for a consultation.
Pay a hefty consultation fee each time you need to undergo an ECG.
Only give your ECG readings to your physician upon the next appointment.
How To Take A Reading:
When using the LOOKEE® Personal ECG / EKG, you will have to:
- Switch the device on.
- Once the color touch screen appears, select your preferences (Heart-Check A or Heart-Check B).
- Place your finger over the sensor on the bottom right of the device and press down lightly..
- Place the left side of the monitor against the palm of your hand. Try to keep your hand as still as possible during this process
- In just 30-60 seconds, the screen will display an accurate reading of your heart's electrical activity and rhythm.
Cardiovascular Diseases Monitored Using An ECG
Undergoing An ECG will help in detecting cardiac abnormalities and conditions such as:
- Arrhythmia: Characterized by problems in the heart's rhythm resulting in irregular or abnormal heartbeats.
- Bradycardia: A form of heart arrhythmia where the heart beats slower than usual. This condition is experienced when a patient has less than 60 heartbeats per minute.
- Tachycardia: A form of heart arrhythmia where the heart beats abnormally faster than it is supposed to. A patient will experience more than 100 beats per minute.
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib): A form of tachycardia also characterized by a faster than normal heart rate. The patient's heartbeat will be extremely chaotic and irregular.
- Premature ventricular contraction (PVC): The heart experiences extra heartbeats that disrupt its regular rhythm.
- Coronary heart disease: Also known as ischaemic heart disease. The condition occurs when fatty deposits cause blockages that obstruct the heart's blood supply.
- Heart Attack (myocardial infarction): When the blood supply to the heart is suddenly cut off.
- Cardiomyopathy: A condition characterized by the walls of the heart getting thicker or enlarged.
Specialists also use ECGs to assist in detecting the causes behind stroke and sudden fainting episodes (syncope).
A study published by Wiley Online focused on cardiac rehabilitation in older adults with the use of portable mobile health devices, i.e., health devices that perform medical functions via smartphones or wearable monitors.
Research showed that due to many older adults becoming more technologically savvy and having access to smartphones, multiple benefits could come from mobile health devices, including portable ECG heart monitors. These devices could help them access information relating to personal health more efficiently and thus educate them on managing conditions related to cardiovascular complications.
Countries including America, Europe, and India have employed the use of portable ECG monitors to detect symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AFib) more efficiently. Due to citizens living in rural areas of India being unable to access in-hospital care easily, research found that giving these individuals handheld ECG heart monitors increased the number of regular screening tests for atrial fibrillation by three times.
Many mobile devices such as smartphones, fitness watches, and health monitors can track an individual's daily health stats. This includes the number of steps taken, stress levels, standing heart rate, calorie intake, and much more. Being aware of these stats also contribute to regular monitoring of the heart’s health. Hence, the study concluded that mobile health devices such as smartphones and portable health monitors can assist in cardiac rehabilitation due to their convenience, allowing older adults to track their symptoms and address any complications that may arise.
Why Older Adults Need To Monitor Their Heart Regularly
As the body ages further into adulthood, it experiences changes in the function of the heart and blood vessels. Not only is the heart not as strong as it once was, but risk factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and pre-existing health conditions increase the chances of heart disease developing.
Older adults often neglect their physical health to their detriment. It is vital that, along with a change in lifestyle, they regularly monitor their heart's activity. Should a problem arise, it can be identified and treated before turning into a severe health issue.
Key Facts About Heart Disease According To The World Health Organization:
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
- Over three-quarters of cardiovascular-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
- In 2019, more than 16 million people died from cardiovascular diseases, representing 32% of all global deaths. A majority of these fatalities were as a result of heart attack and stroke.
What You Can Do To Maintain Good Heart Health
Many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Older adults can keep their heart healthy by:
- Not smoking. Smoking damages the artery walls increasing the chances of developing heart disease as well as stroke and cancer.
- Following a healthy diet. This includes limiting the consumption of trans and saturated fats as well as alcohol.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Being physically active and staying at a healthy weight is one of the best ways to look after the heart.
- Keep pre-existing health conditions under control. High blood pressure and diabetes can cause further heart complications when not managed.
- Don't overstress. Stressing too much can lead to an increase in blood pressure, indirectly affecting the heart.
NHS - Electrocardiogram (ECG):
Implantable loop recorder: A heart monitoring device https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/implantable-loop-recorder/pyc-20384986
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG):
Electrocardiogram 2: interpretation and signs of heart disease
NHS - Atrial fibrillation:
Mobile health and cardiac rehabilitation in older adults:
National Library of Medicine - Aging changes in the heart and blood vessels:
World Health Organization: Cardiovascular Disease https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)