Empowering Diabetic Women With Mobile Health Tech
For working women suffering from diabetes, life is nothing short of a struggle
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One in 10 women today is living with diabetes, according to a study by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Increasing urbanization and the accompanying changes in lifestyle are leading to a burgeoning epidemic of chronic NCDs such as diabetes in India, and women are as much at risk as the men. In fact, women with diabetes stand for the second highest mortality amongst South Asians, with as many as 55% deaths occurring among women due to diabetes, as the risk of heart disease increases six times in diabetic women, compared to normal women.
A study by the department of science and technology (DST) found that the prevalence of diabetes is 17.7% among urban middle class women. This may be because in urban areas, women have even more responsibilities compared to their rural counterparts as they often go out and work. They do not exercise as regularly as men, their eating habits are irregular and they do not even go for regular health check-ups. Gender roles and power dynamics influence vulnerability to diabetes, affect access to health services and health-seeking behaviour for women, and amplify the impact of diabetes on women, more so for working women. The study by IDF also found that there are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes and this total is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040. Besides being a health burden, it is also economically challenging for a country like India to have its young workforce brought to its knees by this unforgiving disease.
For working women suffering from diabetes, life is nothing short of a struggle. With the widespread lack of knowledge about Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes, care impedes the patient's ability to manage the disease. In such a situation, we need to seek a solution that empowers women living with diabetes, rather than bring their life to a standstill. Mobile health technology, therefore, could provide a non-intrusive way to manage diabetes, by improving access to health care through collaborative efforts involving physicians, diabetes educators, nurses, and public health scientists, along with access to diabetes prevention and management efforts.
Here's how diabetes management Smartphone apps can help working women lead normal lives.
" Enable Self Care: Mobile health apps allow patients to remotely self-assess their condition and seek medical support when required. Instant counselling, mobile technologies and real-time doctor-patient communication are all enabling new and more efficient 'virtual care' environments
" Ensure Compliance: mHealth apps can characterise and promote adherence to therapy, in addition to tracking fundamental behaviours, such as sleep and physiological parameters.
" Provide better Access: mHealth apps enable consistent monitoring that helps doctor assess performance and response to treatment, while also improving quality of life, reducing hospital associated costs and more importantly, making patients more independent in the care of their condition.
The Road Ahead
With a vast majority of world population having an access to some type of mobile technology, mHealth apps are certainly becoming the preferred choice to deliver deferent health care solutions to people living with NCDs. Empowering working women with technology can not only ensure that their disease is managed well, but will also go a long way in expanding the reach of health literacy and services among the general population and high risk groups.
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