Monitoring blood pressure and blood sugar at home can make a big difference for people with heart conditions. Those who have survived heart attacks should also keep an eye on body weight and the oxygen level in their blood. The latter can be easily done with an oximeter, a gadget costing around `2,000. It also measures the pulse rate, another useful test, says Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, veteran cardiac surgeon and Chairman and Executive Director of Narayana Health. "Typically, patients who have suffered heart attacks and need to be hospitalised tend to find their body weight going up. There will be variations in blood pressure; the oxygen level in blood will be down; the pulse rate will be up and they will feel breathless after any exertion," he points out. It will help if these parameters are monitored at home and on a daily basis when one is suffering from serious heart ailments. For others, Dr Shetty suggests a cardiac check-up once a year. Any Indian past 40 should also undergo a CT angiography or a CT scan of the heart.
Again, blood sugar monitoring is a must for people with diabetes. One way to do it is through ambulatory glucose profiling, says Dr V. Mohan, a diabetes specialist and co-founder of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre.
To get it done, a small patch is usually stuck on the upper arm region. It reads the blood sugar level for two weeks (around 100 readings a day) and provides fluctuation graphs. Later on, a doctor will read the data using a scanner, analyse the condition and suggest treatment. As of now, only the professional model of the device is available in India although some may want to check the data themselves and will require a reader for the same. But reading the data yourself may not be the best option as seeking medical expertise is always preferred.
Also, most people in India tend to suffer from type 2 diabetes, observes Dr Mohan. In such cases, sugar level can be brought down with medication and it can be easily maintained. So, one need not put the patch on and monitor it non-stop. It may just be a two-week exercise once a year. It will cost you around `2,000 apart from a doctor's consultation charges.