The heart beats approximately 115,000 times per day, totaling 42 million times in a year! To keep your heart going strong, it's important to monitor your hardworking ticker. Notably, heart health is important for seniors because age comes with natural changes in body organs and their functionality — including changes in the heart and blood vessels.
Seniors are more vulnerable to cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attacks and heart failures, than younger adults. 47 million of the 86 million people in America diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders are at least 60 years old.
Tech developers are making new products, like diagnostic chips and portable devices, so adults can monitor heart health and detect issues early. While some heart health devices are made specifically for seniors, others are made for the general population and can offer significant benefits for individuals of all ages. Below is a list of high-tech devices for tracking senior heart health.
KardiaMobile is a portable electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). It can detect a wide range of heart arrhythmias, which can be an early sign of atrial fibrillation, heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The earlier arrhythmias are detected, the easier they are manage. Failure to detect the condition in good time can result in severe complications.
KardiaMobile is a small monitor that you place your fingers on for just 30 seconds to measure your heart rate. The device can help detect atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus rhythms, and tachycardia. It comes with a phone clip so the device can easily fit on your smartphone. You can also add KardiaCare, which includes reviews of your results by a cardiologist. It also provides reports that you can share with your primary care doctor or cardiologist.
PRICE: $79.00 for KardiaMobile and $9.99 per month for KardiaCare
2. Zio Service
Zio Service is a complete heart health monitoring system. This service includes 2-week access to a long-term continuous monitor, the Zio XT, and a mobile cardiac telemetry monitor, the Zio AT. Thanks to the dual system, the company claims to detect over 99% of arrhythmias within 2 weeks.
The devices are small, discreet, wireless patches that a loved one wears on their chest chest to track heart rhythm. They are comfortable and easy to use — no batteries to change or electrodes to reposition. Zio Service is among the innovations changing the detection and management of cardiovascular diseases.
This monitor does have to be prescribed by a physician. Luckily, the site allows you to easily find a doctor who prescribes Zio. After you've completed your 2-week monitoring period, you mail the monitors back to Zio. The company will analyze your data and provide a report to your doctor.
PRICE: The price will vary depending on your insurance coverage. ZioXT is covered by all major commercial insurance companies and Medicare.
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3. Apple Watch
The Apple Watch monitors a senior's heart regularly all day. With Apple Watch, you can check your pulse rate and heart performance anytime anywhere. Apple Watch detects anything unusual with your heart health and alerts you. It identifies unusually low or high heart rates and irregular heart rhythms, and the smartwatch notifies you even if you don't feel the symptoms. You can consult with your doctor early enough before the symptoms escalate.
Notably, Apple Watch has an emergency button that allows you to ask for help when you need it. When you press the button, emergency services and your emergency contacts are notified immediately. Indeed, the Apple Watch is built with your heart in mind. In addition to monitoring your heart rate, Apple Watch tracks activity, blood pressure, and sleep, giving your loved one long-term insight into their activity level.
PRICE: The price of an Apple Watch depends on the model that you get. A new watch could cost you around $400, while an older model or refurbished watch could be under $150.
Fitbit is a prominent brand for fitness wearables. It acknowledges that your heart is the center of everything you do. Fitbit offers numerous devices to track your heart rate from your wrist.
Fitbit Versa 3, for example, has a built-in heart monitor that runs 24/7 regardless of the activity you're engaging in—sitting, going for a walk, or performing a workout. This watch also helps you track heart rate zones. Apart from heart rate, Fitbit has features to track activity and sleep duration.
PRICE: The price of a Fitbit depends on the model that you get. But most are between $100 and $200.
5. BodyGuardian Heart
Although not specifically made for seniors, BodyGuardian Heart is a wireless, wearable monitor. You simply stick it on your skin with its medical-grade adhesive, and it will monitor your heart rate in addition to activity rate, respiration, and other vital signs. It doesn't have any wires, so you can move around freely while wearing the device.
Another good thing with this heart health device is that it connects to an app and the senior, their physician, and their caregivers have access to it. These parties get alerts in case of an emergency.
Preventice Solutions, the manufacturer, also makes the BodyGuardian MINI, which is the first submersible arrhythmia monitor, so individuals can shower, swim, and do all of their regular activities without worrying about their device.
PRICE: Like ZioService, this device is prescribed by a physician. The cost will vary depending on your insurance coverage.
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6. Implantable Cardio Defibrillator (ICD)
At times, a senior needs more than a wearable heart health device. An implantable heart health device becomes a viable option. For rhythm control, a senior may get an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or a pacemaker. ICD is positioned in the heart tissue to monitor the heart rate. It helps to restore the normal heart rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.
PRICE: The cost of an ICD depends on your insurance coverage. A doctor will help you determine the best ICD for your heart health.
When a senior's heart beats too fast or slow or irregularly, they may need a pacemaker. A pacemaker is a device that continuously monitors heart rate. If it detects that the rate is too slow or too fast, it sends electrical signals that help the heart maintain an appropriate rate. A pacemaker is powered by a battery and is implanted in the chest.
Some pacemakers also have sensors that detect body motion, breathing rate, and other vital signals. They can also transmit heart health data to the individual and/or a physician.
PRICE: The cost of a pacemaker depends on your insurance coverage. A doctor will help you determine the best ICD for your heart health.
There are numerous heart health devices in the market today as medical technology advances. While some devices are strictly for heart health, others have features to monitor activity, sleep, blood pressure, respiration, among others. The bottom line is to choose a device that meets a loved one's needs and is easy to use. Also, you can consult with a physician before use so that they can examine data as it arises.