As an Asthma sufferer until I was in my twenties, it's really exciting to see sensors coming out that will improve the quality of life of people suffering from Asthma and COPD. These chronic respiratory diseases cause your airways to swell and narrow, making it difficult to breathe, and affect over 50 million people in the US alone.
Taking inhalers regularly is the standard treatment to manage respiratory diseases, with many patients using their inhaler at unpredictable times to relieve shortness of breath or chest tightness caused by uncontrollable irritants and triggers.
Being able to control your Asthma makes you at lower risk of having an attack and ending up in hospital, but controlling it is the challenge for a lot of patients. One of the ways to help control it is to ensure adherence to medication but tracking when, where and how often you've taken your inhaler can be tricky. I would often forget if I had already taken it, and take it again just to make sure.
That's what Propeller is working hard to solve. They are building sensors, mobile apps and services that help you manage your condition better.
Propeller Asthma Inhaler Sensor
You just attach their sensor to your inhaler, so it can collect simple data like the time and location where you use it. That simple data becomes very powerful very fast. The frequency of use tells you how well you are doing, and the location shows you where you are experiencing different triggers. Each time you use your rescue inhaler, you are asked, once you feel better, to text them what triggered you so you can keep track of it.
Propeller also aggregate the data to see where Asthma triggers exist within a community, which can be very valuable for public health.
Asthma and COPD affect people old and young, so what I really like about Propeller is that don't need a smartphone to use it - you can choose to text, email, or use a traditional phone call to record your triggers and access your data.
Propeller is currently in early clinical trials due to wrap up in May this year, and already they are seeing signs that patients are saving money on emergency room visits and having more Asthma-free days.
Connect with the Propeller folks here if you'd like to give it a try, and watch the founder talk about his passion for Propeller here:
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