The technology behind a modern heart rate monitor is a true testament to how medical science has evolved. Heart rate monitors today are not only used for tracking cardiovascular functions in hospital settings but also used as a tool for health and fitness training.
They measure and display information in real-time so that medical professionals can make accurate assessments of the patient. In hospitals, heart rate monitors are typically wired with different sensors for more in-depth health monitoring. These sensors are commonly referred to as ECG which is short for Electrocardiography.
An electrocardiogram works by utilising electrodes that connect to a machine with wires and are placed in different areas of the body including the chest, legs, and arms. It uses the natural electrical impulses from contractions which are then measured and interpreted by doctors. Heart rate irregularities are typically a sign of cardiovascular conditions which is why real-time monitoring is highly important.
Defining Holter Heart Rate Monitors
In certain situations, medical professionals may advise a patient to wear a Holter monitor. This type of heart rate monitor is a portable device that utilises the same ECG technology. A typical Holter monitor can track a patient’s heart rate outside of a medical facility for over 24 hours. They also have electrodes that connect to areas of the patient’s body such as the chest and stomach.
Doctors would typically recommend Holter monitors to patients who are experiencing heart-related complications such as palpitations and low blood pressure without any definite reason. A Holter monitor is also excellent when it comes to detecting heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats since it can continuously monitor patients even in the comfort of their own homes.
A portable heart rate monitor can provide consistent medical information to doctors for a more accurate assessment. Additionally, ECG monitors do not send electricity into our bodies which means they will not interfere with pacemakers. Instead, they can measure and assess how well a pacemaker is working and adjusting within a patient’s chest. They can also determine how well a patient is responding to arrhythmia treatments, especially for complex medications.
Since Holter monitors were discovered in 1957 by Dr. Norman J. Holter, the technology behind portable heart rate monitors has continuously evolved throughout the years. Today, a heart rate monitor can be used inside or outside of the medical field and is now a modern-day tool for fitness training and tracking.
Technology in the Fitness Industry
With people becoming more health-conscious and physically active, the tech industry has found numerous ways to help streamline the way fitness enthusiasts track their progress. Wearable technology has even penetrated the fashion industry and today, they are considered modern-day must-haves for people on the go.
These gadgets can track and monitor vital signs and body signals in real-time using tiny sensors built within the device. Wearable devices typically contain a heart rate monitor to track the person’s cardiovascular activity especially when it comes to intense workouts or training sessions.
Wearable devices often use PPG or Photoplethysmography which is a type of heart rate monitor that uses optical technology. It detects any changes within the blood volume in the microvascular tissues which is similar to how conventional pulse oximeters work. Light penetrates the skin and any changes in light absorption influence the data that is measured.
This is how some wearable devices can track blood oxygen levels and function as a heart rate monitor at the same time. Similar to large-scale ECG devices, PPG sensors in a wearable device can also provide data in real-time for the benefit of both patients and medical professionals.
Heart Rate Monitor in Different Wearable Devices
Technological advancements have allowed us to reach new heights when it comes to innovation. Today, tiny PPG sensors can fit into the smallest devices such as watches and rings. Wearable technology is gradually revolutionising the way we perceive healthcare and changing methods of interaction between medical professionals and patients. A heart rate monitor is something that most wearable devices have in common.
Tracking cardiovascular activity is vital for both fitness and healthcare which is why they have proven to be modern-day essentials. In this part of the article, we’ve listed 3 of the most common types of wearable devices available in the market today. We’ll also talk about how they can benefit patients and medical professionals with how they function as heart rate monitors and fitness trackers.
Smartwatches are some of the most popular types of wearable devices. They have become both fitness and fashion staples due to their versatility and functionality. Aside from healthcare tracking, smartwatches can function as phone extensions by receiving messages and processing payments.
Most smartwatches also have a built-in heart rate monitor which can track heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation. They can also monitor stress levels and provide users with data about their sleeping patterns.
There are different types of smart clothing available in the market today for different applications. Typically, they use a heart rate monitor and different sensors that can provide necessary information for athletes to assess and improve their performance.
Smart clothing can also provide patients with information regarding their sleeping patterns and body temperature in different types of activities. These kinds of information can provide people and medical professionals with the necessary information for overall wellness improvement.
The great thing about smart jewellery is that it’s light and compact but can work as efficiently as any typical wearable device. In fact, smart rings started becoming just as popular as smartwatches in recent years.
They can perform almost the same functions and provide the same types of health information to patients and fitness enthusiasts alike. Some smart rings are even built with a heart rate monitor and different sensors which can detect early signs of cardiovascular conditions such as atrial fibrillation.