Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a technology that enables healthcare providers to remotely monitor their patients. Initially, RPM was prescribed for individuals suffering from chronic diseases. However, RPM now treats a plethora of illnesses, including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
High blood sugar levels, weight gain, and infertility are some of the most common symptoms of PCOS, a chronic disorder that affects over five million women in the United States alone. This article will discuss two RPM devices that may be beneficial for women with PCOS.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common health disease for women caused by a hormonal imbalance in their reproductive system. Hormonal imbalance causes complications in the ovaries, including infertility and an abnormal menstrual cycle. As part of a healthy menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce and discharge eggs. However, for women with PCOS, the egg may not develop normally or may be expelled prematurely during ovulation, resulting in delayed or missed menstruation. Delayed or missed menstruation may lead to infertility and the formation of cysts in the ovaries.
What are the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of PCOS?
For some women, signs and symptoms of PCOS start to manifest as soon as they start their menstrual cycle. Although the signs and symptoms vary from one individual to another, medical diagnoses reveal the following common signs, symptoms, and risks associated with PCOS:
- High Blood Sugar or Diabetes. One of the life-threatening risks of PCOS is having a high blood sugar level and developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the CDC, more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by the age of 40.
- Overweight, Obesity, or have Difficulty in Losing Weight. Women with PCOS either produce excessive insulin or their insulin does not work properly. Insulin’s inability to operate correctly is one of the reasons women with PCOS gain weight or have difficulty shedding weight.
- Irregularities in the Menstrual Cycle. Some women with PCOS experience delayed or missed menstruation. This is due to the abnormal development or premature discharge of eggs.
- Thinning of Hair, Acne, and Skin Pigmentation. PCOS affects not only her health but also her physical appearance. Thinning of hair or baldness, acne, and skin pigmentation or darkening may also manifest.
How can women with PCOS use RPM?
There is no cure for PCOS, but the associated complications of diabetes and obesity can be treated.
RPM can help women with PCOS by monitoring their blood sugar levels and keeping track of their weight to delay or prevent health issues. RPM allows patients to monitor their blood sugar levels and weight while they are outside of a medical facility. Providers, on the other hand, have easy and immediate access to their patients’ data, allowing them to alter or modify their treatment plans as needed.
How does RPM work? First, the patient uses a connected glucometer to collect vital signs such as blood glucose levels. The data collected from the device is transmitted to the mobile application of the patient, which will serve as a gateway to transmit the same data to a secure database. From there, the provider may access the data from his computer or smartphone. Any changes in the vital signs of the patient are readily visible to the provider, allowing him to respond immediately.
With RPM, providers are able to gather more than enough data to fully understand and diagnose their patients, allowing them to further prescribe and customize the proper treatment for their patients.
2 RPM Devices for women with PCOS
RPM utilizes medical devices to remotely monitor patients with PCOS. These RPM devices which can help treat PCOS are the smart scale and blood glucose meter.
1. Smart Scale
The majority of women with PCOS are insulin resistant. Insulin resistance refers to the body’s inability to use the hormone insulin, which is responsible for converting carbohydrates from food to energy. Insulin resistance results in the accumulation of insulin in the bloodstream, which further results in weight gain.
For women with PCOS, losing weight can be a struggle, but a little progress can be life-changing. To manage the risks that come with PCOS, healthcare providers recommend that their patients lose weight. As such, to monitor their patients’ weight loss programs, providers use connected smart scales. This RPM device allows providers to continuously monitor their patients’ weight beyond the borders of medical facilities. This enables patients to concentrate on their treatment programs while enjoying the comforts of home and being monitored remotely by their providers.
RPM providers, like DrKumo, use smart scales that measure not only the body mass but also other parameters such as BMI, fat percentage, visceral fat, body water mass, bone mass, and so much more. This kind of smart scale allows the providers to have a deeper insight into their patients’ overall body composition and not only on their weight.
2. Blood Glucose Meter
According to research, PCOS is a major independent risk factor for developing diabetes. In fact, women who develop PCOS throughout their adolescent years are at an increased risk of developing diabetes and, perhaps, chronic heart problems. Diabetes is also connected with insulin resistance in women with PCOS, which, as previously stated, is a condition in which the body produces sufficient insulin, but the cells lack insulin receptors necessary for insulin absorption at the cellular level.
To help minimize diabetes complications caused by PCOS, caregivers regularly monitor their patients’ blood glucose levels. A connected blood glucose meter enables patients to gather blood glucose levels regularly and places the patient data into an easy to interpret interface that their health care provider can view remotely. With the use of RPM, any spike in the patient’s blood sugar level is immediately visible to the provider, allowing the provider to contact the patient and make any necessary adjustments to her treatment plan.
Since there is no cure for PCOS yet, it is advised to manage the underlying causes and prevent the risks that are associated with it. One of the underlying causes of PCOS is insulin resistance, a condition that increases the chances of developing diabetes and obesity. To best prevent these life-threatening risks, it is important to continuously monitor the patient’s blood sugar level and weight. Utilizing RPM devices such as connected smart scales and blood glucose meters will help women with PCOS suppress or delay the health risks that come along with PCOS.
- Mills G;Badeghiesh A;Suarthana E;Baghlaf H;Dahan MH; (n.d.). Polycystic ovary syndrome as an independent risk factor for gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: A population-based study on 9.1 million pregnancies. Human reproduction (Oxford, England). Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32535629/