Dos and Don’ts of Using Home Medical Equipment

Not so long ago, the majority of households had only the bare essentials in terms of medical equipment and supplies: usually homes didn’t stack on anything more advanced than a thermometer, bandages and an iodine pencil. Not so today: things like blood pressure monitors, glucometers, smart scales, pregnancy tests as well as hundreds of smartphone apps supposedly performing some healthcare functions (with no means of evaluating their efficacy) are used by almost everybody.


On one hand, it is good – people don’t have to visit a doctor for routine tests and measurements and are more aware of their health conditions. On the other hand, overreliance on these devices, incorrect usage, emphasis on self-medication can harm and even endanger one’s life. So what should you do to reap all the benefits while minimizing the possible problems? Let’s see.

1.    Consult a Doctor before Acquiring Advanced Equipment

Advanced medical equipment is so easily accessible today that many people don’t bother talking the matters over with a doctor at all before buying it. However, remember that you are not a doctor (unless you graduated from a medical school, of course) and your opinion that you need the device in question isn’t based on enough information. It may turn out that you suffer from a completely different condition than you think, and this mistake will not only lead to your spending money on equipment you don’t really need, but to the real condition progressing unchecked.

2.    Buy Only Reliable Equipment

The more widespread and universal the piece of equipment is, the more alternative products you are about to find in the market, and a lot of choice isn’t always a good thing. When buying health products, people often go in blind, because it isn’t something they shop for very often – and buying unreliable equipment that either shows wrong test results or doesn’t work as intended at all can give you wrong information, leading to incorrect decisions, especially if you prefer self-medication to visiting doctors. That is why it is so important to find high-quality, well-reputed manufacturers and stick to them – for example, a top blood pressure monitor design will guarantee that you always know exactly what you blood pressure is without any room for doubt – and can take an informed decision from that point.

3.    Read the Manual

It doesn’t matter if you’ve used a similar device in the past. You may have forgotten some vital details, this particular device may use different design, or you may have used it wrong before. So, before putting new equipment to use, read the manual carefully and run every step in your mind multiple times before actually practicing anything. Better yet, study the manual before buying the device and ask yourself: am I competent enough to use it properly? If not, perhaps you’d better leave it to professionals.

4.    Don’t Trust Test Results too Much

Especially if you are going to start some kind of treatment based on them. It may be a false positive, you may have used the device incorrectly, the device may be faulty; even professional doctors with years of experience sometimes misdiagnose their patients, so you certainly aren’t secure from making a mistake. Consult a doctor before starting a treatment – you cannot go wrong here.

It is especially true with more complex devices: while there are aren’t many alternative ways to interpret a blood pressure reading, something more exotic, like a home sonogram machine, provides readings that require years of experience and background knowledge to properly understand – simply reading the manual is just not enough.

5.    Remember that Devices Are not Always the Solution

A medical device can be excellent for improving your awareness of your health, but it isn’t always a proactive approach to the problem. Good old preventive care is as important as ever, and taking your fair share of exercise, making sure your diet is correct for your age and health conditions and so on can bring you better results than all the fancy medical equipment you may find on the market.

In the long run, the question you have to ask yourself when buying any extra piece of healthcare equipment for your home is this: do I really need it? If you are unsure, perhaps it is better to find another solution – if there is a problem at all.

Image Credit: Adrian Clark

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