We already see some pretty creative ways technology can assist people as they age, including safety and smart-living innovations, health and remote care, and wellness and fitness technologies. Another emerging subset is bone health tech, as we see more than 3 million elderly citizens being treated for fall injuries each year. Most of those falls are related to deteriorating bone health. This article will look into the different bone health tech innovations, from monitoring bone density to preventing osteoporosis, that revolutionize adults’ healthcare experience as they age.
Why is this important? Experts predict that the active-aging business in the US will increase in size to almost $30 billion in the next three years, all thanks to boomers wanting to age actively, gracefully, and independently. Technology widely becomes a major disruptor that will enable them to achieve their objectives. And for startup entrepreneurs creating technologies to improve the lives of the elderly’s lives, this is a significant opportunity.
Bone Health and the Elderly
Deteriorating bone health is part of growing old which is why bone density test is part of the routine tests for older people. The bones of a person undergo constant changes throughout her lifetime. New bone tissues are replacing the old ones, an ongoing process tightly regulated by the body. There is a balance between replacing the old and the new tissues, which seeks to maintain just the right condition.
As a person ages, that balance changes, and soon the replacement of the old tissues cannot keep up. This will result in the deterioration of the skeletal system, which is common among seniors. This makes them more prone to osteoporosis.
The reduced density of the vertebrae combined with a fluid loss in the intervertebral discs results in the curved trunk. In the long run, this will reduce the affected person’s mobility and flexibility, increasing the likelihood of accidents. This results in the familiar stooping posture that is normally associated with the elderly.
Health Tech Innovations
The good news is that health tech innovations are starting to catch up to make lives easier for the elderly. New technology is being developed regularly, from more accurate bone density tests to new ways of treating bone health problems.
So what are the latest technological innovations for bone health that are impacting the lives of the elderly?
The deterioration of bone health in the elderly is inevitable in some way, but there are ways to slow it down. Furthermore, there are already means to prevent more severe cases, such as osteoporosis, thanks to the latest innovations.
The OsteoBoost device, for example, is an innovation aimed at preventing osteoporosis. Developed by Bone Health Technologies, the same company that created the OsteoBoost Vibration Belt, this device delivers vibrations to the hips and spine. You can calibrate the frequency individually based on the needs and the condition of a patient.
This vibration therapy aims to reduce bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. A preliminary study showed that half-hour sessions using the device reduced bone loss in all of the participants. The results were so promising that the National Institutes of Health allocated $2 million to fund a study that would check if experts can replicate the same results with more study participants for a more extended period.
The idea behind the device was from NASA technology which found that vibrations helped prevent bone loss in astronauts. Bone and muscle loss are real problems in the weightless space.
Biosensors have been around for quite some time, but activity sensors are now available for monitoring patients. The data gathered from such activity sensors are now helpful in preventing and detecting bone health issues early. They are also useful in tracking treatment adherence.
While activity sensors are beneficial in monitoring and preventing a wide range of health conditions, they are very well suited for bone health cases.
As technology improves, there will be more uses for the activity sensors. Soon, there can be monitoring systems for patient’s gait. Changes to the gait can mean the onset of osteoporosis.
As artificial intelligence continues to improve, devices and machines with which people can interact will soon be the norm. These devices can have adaptive interfaces that will adjust based on the needs of the user.
Soon, homes will have interconnected devices and monitor where the users will be and make adjustments based on their needs and past behavior.
Telemedicine is very promising right now, especially with the advances in communication and connection. There is the possibility of diagnosing bone health issues even when the doctor is not in the patient’s location. Telemedicine is also promising in terms of mentoring doctors who are in different geographic locations.
Telemedicine can be very useful since many of the patients who suffer from health issues are seniors who find it difficult to move around. Getting to see their doctor through some alternative means can be a real help for them.
Of course, telemedicine has some disadvantages. Doctors will have to see conditions physically before coming up with a proper diagnosis in many cases.
Technology and Bone Health
The elderly can find it challenging as their bone health deteriorates. With new technologies coming in, their lives can be made much easier. Many of the latest technologies coming online help prevent bone density loss. Still, many tech businesses are developing devices that can also treat bone health issues.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Food & Health