IoT monitoring devices and early detection of heart disease

Illustration: © IoT for all

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 659,000 people in the United States die each year from heart disease. This means that one in four deaths results from heart disease. These shocking statistics show the dangers associated with heart disease. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have heart problems until they have a heart attack. Often these sudden attacks result in death or paralysis. Finding heart problems early can help reduce deaths from heart disease. Using Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring devices could be the solution.

One of the fundamental ways to detect heart disease is by monitoring the heart rate. When it becomes abnormal or irregular, one can easily carry out a check to see the cause and take the necessary preventive measures or treatments. Let’s see how IoT monitoring devices help in the early detection of heart attacks, thereby increasing the chances of survival.

IoT: a brief explanation

IoT is a concept that involves a computerized network of physical objects interacting with the external environment or other devices through embedded technologies. It is a fully automated network of systems and devices connected to a wireless network. The IoT concept operates on the assumption of machine-to-machine interaction with very little human intervention. You don’t have to look very far to see the concept’s use in everyday life.

Security systems, manufacturing, transportation, retail, and home appliances are gradually adopting the technology. However, we will focus on the medical use of the technology, especially to detect heart disease.

IoT and heart disease: the technology that can help

The world is constantly changing. People are scrambling to make ends meet and can forget about their health and well-being. Most health conditions that lead to death can actually be prevented if caught early. Heart disease is one of those health issues that people don’t tackle until it’s too late. However, IoT can help limit the problem. Tools based on the IoT concept can recognize heart failure long before it occurs. Fortunately, there are technological tools that use IoT to monitor heart health. Let’s explore three of these tools:

#1: The heart rate sensor

At the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Smart Cities and Applications (ICAISC 2020), Suchitra Giri et al. presented an article titled, “IoT based heart attack detection and heart rate monitoring system.” They recommended a framework that recognizes heart failure by checking the pulse based on IoT. Giri and co. introduced the Heartbeat Sensor, a device that comes in many forms and ratings and provides instant measurement of heartbeat.

According to the article, sensors are squarely accessible in smartwatches, smart phones, chest traps, and more. The device measures heart rate in beats per minute, noting the number of times the heart contracts and expands in a minute. It is composed of a sensor and a control circuit. The sensor has an IR LED and a photodiode placed in a clasp, while the driver circuit includes an Amp IC that combines the signal with a microcontroller.

The sensor works to detect the pulses and reads them as information signals. The microcontroller manages the information read and transmits it to the WiFi module. Then web servers receive the relayed information for further review and analysis. The preparation of the examined and analyzed information follows, then it is gradually stored with a time stamp. Giri and his team proposed that if their innovation can scale, it will help recognize heart blockage and potentially save more lives.

#2: An IoT-Based Heart Disease Monitoring System

In September 2017, Chao Li, Xiangpei Hu, and Lili Zhang presented a paper at the International Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, KES2017, in Marseille, France. In the presentation entitled, “The IoT-Based Heart Disease Surveillance System for Ubiquitous Health Services”, they said IoT techniques have overwhelming superiority in solving heart disease problems. Additionally, Chao and co. said IoT could change the service model pervasively, triggering health service based on patients‘ physical condition rather than their feelings.

Chao et al. proposed a monitoring system capable of sending patients’ physical signs to remote medical applications in real time. The system will consist of two parts:

  1. Data acquisition
  2. Data transmission

The key point of data acquisition is the monitoring scheme including the monitoring parameters and the frequency of each parameter. It was designed by the team after interviewing medical experts. If the monitoring system is successful, it will sample physical signs such as blood pressure, ECG, Sp02, pulse, heart rate, blood sugar, and blood depression. Additionally, it will sample environmental indicators like a patient’s location. The monitoring system will perform this sampling continuously at different rates.

#3: Intelligent Heart Disease Prediction System with IoT and Fog Computing

K. Butchi Raju, Suresh Dara, Ankit Vidyarthi, V. Gupta and Baseem Khan proposed an intelligent heart disease prediction system aided by IoT and Fog computing. Their proposed model is an integration of Edge-Fog-Cloud computing for the accurate and fast delivery of results. The model gathered information from several hardware instruments.
Raju and company. concluded that the smart healthcare model with IoT-assisted fog calculation has promising performance.

They anticipate that the model may have advanced use in the future with improved algorithms and optimization to improve the efficiency of heart disease prediction and diagnosis. The model is also usable in real-time applications.
Other IoT-based heart monitoring systems are expected to emerge in the near future. These technologies are welcome and will surely help in the fight against heart disease.

Preventive measures for heart disease

Although the emergence of IoT promises a bright future for the prevention of heart disease, it is good to take steps to prevent heart failure. For example, people should take preventive measures against shortness of breath and other indicators of heart disease. In addition to these preventive measures, here are some other things to do to curb heart disease:

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Regular exercise
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • manage diabetes
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Control cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Control blood pressure

Embracing IoT in Healthcare

The Internet of Things is a welcome cutting-edge technological tool. It is applicable in almost all spheres of life, including healthcare. There are already several suggested methods and IoT-supported technologies that monitor heart health. These include heart rate sensors, heart disease monitoring systems, and smart heart disease prediction systems. There is no doubt that these technologies will advance over time and help reduce deaths from heart disease. However, people still need to take preventive measures and take an active role in their health.