Tracking symptoms is a consistent challenge for many people living with Parkinson's disease.
The rate at which the condition evolves varies from person to person. Many external factors, such as stress, exposure to some chemicals or certain diets, can impact the progression of the disease or the onset of symptoms. As a result, Parkinson's is hard to predict. Being aware and knowledgeable about the triggers for symptoms can help those living with the condition get better treatment and also help move researchers closer to finding its cause, and ultimately, its cure.
Tracking made easier with 4-minute app
The need and importance of being able to better track and understand Parkinson's symptoms led to the creation of CloudUPDRS, a mobile app that monitors the signs of the condition and how it progresses. According to its website, the app analyzes features of Parkinson's disease such as tremors, leg agility and finger tapping. Using sensory technology that's now available in any standard smart device, you can use the app to measure the severity of symptoms. Attempting to hold the phone flat in your hand, for example, can allow the app to assess how strong your tremors are. The app even specifies whether it's testing the left or right hand to give the most accurate possible picture of symptom progression.
Consistently using the app at the onset of symptoms could help you track patterns for when they occur, which could help you identify which conditions trigger outbreaks.
"The overall aim is to empower people with Parkinson's," Cosmin Stamate, a PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London and a member of the CloudUPDRS development team, told New Scientist. "This app can help them find the things that improve or worsen their symptoms."
Along with the physical tests using sensory technology, the app also evaluates your condition based on answers that you provide to self-assessment questions. The Huffington Post reported that the app even offers a more generic testing option that focuses on three key symptoms - a test that can give you results in just 4 minutes.
The versatility of mobile health technology
Wearable health monitors and mobile technology can play important roles for seniors today. An app like CloudUPDRS doesn't just help those living with Parkinson's better identify and prevent triggers for their symptoms, but it also provides a level of care that's not always regularly accessible to all patients.
The app rates and logs symptoms based on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale. According to Massachusetts General Hospital, UPDRS is a tool for tracking the progression of Parkinson's, used during interviews between physicians and patients. For many seniors, however, it's not feasible to get in to see their doctors as frequently as they'd need for tracking the disease's progression. Apps such as CloudUPDRS that can provide you with the tools you need to track your condition at home allow for more comprehensive views of how the disease manifests.
Investing in smartphones, tablets or other forms of mobile technology in this generation can provide vital health resources to seniors. You can go to the app store on any of your devices to download and register programs like CloudUPDRS to track different vitals and find resources to help you manage a wide variety of conditions.