Track Your Asthma Triggers With Asthmapolis!
If you’ve got asthma, your doctor, your friends, and your loved ones have probably all encouraged you to be aware of factors that trigger your symptoms. But figuring out your triggers is trickier than it seems.
Take me, for instance. I’ve found I’m more likely to need to use a rescue inhaler after a walk outside in cold weather. That is, unless it’s a warm day with rain, or a friend’s house when the heat is blasting.
You see what I mean; asthma triggers are wide ranging, and to make matters even more tricky, they can change with the seasons and over time.
A new health app, called Asthmapolis, may help change the way you understand your triggers, as well as help your doctor and public health officials better understand the disease.
What is Asthmapolis?
Asthmapolis has two parts: one is a mobile app that can be used on smartphones or other mobile devices. The second part is a small electronic sensor that attaches to your rescue inhaler. The device is passive—meaning it won’t affect the use of your inhaler—but when you use it it sends GPS information to your mobile app, so that later you can see where and at what time you had an asthma event.
How is it Useful?
Having data on where you were and what time of day your asthma got out of control can make it easier to understand your disease. If you have a smartphone, you probably already know about the trend of “checking in” at stores, restaurants, and other places. Asthmapolis has a similar function; you can opt to push a yellow button to mark “I had an asthma event” at the location where your asthma symptoms were worse. Over time, that can help you see what types of places, events, and other factors contributed to feeling bad.
Who Does it Help?
Patients certainly get the most help. In one study on Asthmapolis, 75 percent of the people who started using the device had uncontrolled asthma, and by the end of the study only 25 percent of them were still uncontrolled. In the end, better management of asthma means less risk of needing more expensive treatment in the hospital or your doctor’s office.
But doctors and public health officials also benefit by seeing what environmental factors trigger asthma symptoms.
How do I Get It?
Right now, Asthmapolis is only being used in studies, but the makers of the device and app say it should be available commercially in late 2011. If you subscribe to this post, we’ll come back and let you know when it hits the market.