Best Wearables For Autoimmune Health Tracking
In my post last week about quantified self – at-home health tracking to find insights for flares and symptoms – I wrote that I’d be posting a round-up article about the best wearables, which all of course have a companion app to view the data, as seen at SXSW Interactive. Since then, other wearables have launched and others have shut down – wearable products are hot, and there are only so many you can or want to wear on your body.
So here are the ones I think are the most helpful wearables for us autoimmune moms, from the aptly named SXSW conference sessions: “The Emperor’s New Wearables” and “Digital Health: Indispensable Means Invisible”. These wearables are listed in alphabetical order, and not ranked otherwise.
“In the internet of things, wearables are the key that unlocks and ties it all together. … the wrist is a great place to pull information off the body.”
–SWSX Interactive 2015 panelist Travis Bogard, Jawbone
Jawbone’s UP wearables product family all tie to the UP app on your smartphone. The UP2/UP24 tracks activity (steps), sleep (deep and light), diet and health goals. The new model, UP3, tracks all of that plus more sophisticated sleep data and heart health. Jawbone will be launching the UP4 soon, with payment capabilities via AmEx. I think the UP24 or UP3 are most useful for autoimmune tracking needs, personally.
All models have a smart alarm to buzz you awake when you are moving into light sleep within 10 minutes of your wake-up time.
Jawbone also partners with other apps that track anything from diet (LoseIt! and others), to weight (Withings), to home temperature (Nest), so it is trying to be a central hub – but you have to buy their wearable first. Prices range from $49.99 – $179.99 as of the publish date.
For disclosure, I have used the UP24 for the last year and I love it. I love the smart alarm to wake me up to take my Armour thyroid medication in the morning, and buzz me as a reminder for my afternoon medication time.
And the app has cool insights about my sleep and step trends. It also has good reminders to drink water and encourages me to move more when I’m on a downward trend – but in a nice, not annoying, way.
The reason I chose it originally is for its crossover as a fashion accessory more so than other wearables. I could envision myself wearing it with everything, even a dress – and I do.
I have not tried downloading the last year of my data to combine with other data points I’m tracking, but the company said that you can access it on their website if you login to your account.
Sometimes, simple is the best place to start. The Movo wearable aims to be accessible for whole families to buy and use – including kids.
With the low price point of $29.99 (as of the publish date), it’s a great choice if you aren’t sure whether a wearable is right for you, or whether you’re going to like wearing something other than jewelry or a watch on your wrist every day.
As a sidenote: a wrist wearable does take some getting used to – probably about 3 months before it becomes a habit – or, if you’re like me, you become addicted to the sleep tracker as a predictor of how well you’ll be feeling that day. So buying a lower-priced one as a test might be a good entry point.
Another great feature is the “loops” available in different colors to accessorize/personalize your wristband — also handy for family members to keep the right one on their wrist!
Proteus Digital Health
Proteus Digital Health has a different view on wearables – that they should be invisible. As the company’s presentation stated, “indispensable means invisible.”
The company has a valid point – sometimes you don’t want everyone to know you’re tracking your health, especially if you already have a chronic illness and want that to be in the background of living your life. Or for you, fashion is a beautiful timepiece and not the Apple Watch or a wrist wearable like the others mentioned here.
Proteus’ approach is to design products that are invisible and seamless, such as a pill and a patch with a sensor to monitor medication, steps, rest, heart rate, blood pressure and weight.
The pill has a sensor the size of a grain of sand that signals the patch after it reaches the stomach, to then track your medication adherence. The patch is worn on your body to track rest and activity patterns.
The info is connected to a patient app, which shows your data over time and also has medication reminder/schedules. A healthcare portal for doctors can also receiving the data from the patch, so that your doctor can see charts/graphs/trends over time based on your tracked data – with your permission.
The company hasn’t launched its products yet, but given the technology and ties to the health provider, it looks like the products will be available through your doctor and not at retail.
When we learn more about the release dates and how to access the technology, we will update this post. This technology is very cool and one to watch.
There are a ton of other wearables out there, but these are the ones that stood out to me for simplicity and focus on autoimmune health. But this post offers a nice list of the full spectrum of what’s out there in wearable tech right now.
What wearables do you use? What do you track with them, and how has it helped you manage flares and symptoms?
Photo credits: Jawbone, Movo, Proteus company websites (linked above)
About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of AutoimmuneMom.com. She lives with her autoimmune conditions, family and mini labradoodle dog in Austin, Texas.
This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com, written by Katie Cleary, and first published on Jun 19, 2015.
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