Expat living: monitor your heart health with technology

November 06, 2018

Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer. Over 17 million people die each year from a range of cardiovascular diseases. Some are hereditary, but the majority are a result of inactivity, stress, smoking, alcohol abuse or an unhealthy diet. In many cases, it is caused by multiple factors.

Unfortunately, those of us living as expats are also at risk. Stressful desk jobs combined with lots of opportunity to eat and drink, leave us open to developing heart problems. Heat further compounds the issue, as blood thickens in hot weather. Expats who spend a lot of time outdoors in warm climates may be at further risk.

Research conducted in the United Arab Emirates on locals and expats showed those living in the Middle Eastern country were more likely to develop heart disease twenty years before those in the US or Europe.  

No matter where you are living as an expat, there are many things you can do to improve the health of your heart including exercising more and eating the right food. Technology can help you get, and stay, motivated.  There are many apps that will help you monitor your diet, exercise and the health of your heart.

Whether you know you have a problem with food, or you already eat well and exercise, Noom can help you. This app promises to explore the deep-rooted habits linked to food that will help you stay healthy for life. They have worked with doctors, psychologists and personal trainers to develop tailored programmes to help you improve how and why you eat.
Walking is an easy way of helping maintain a healthy heart, it costs nothing, can be done anywhere and is recommended by heart associations around the world. Get moving with these two expat friendly apps:
One of the world’s most popular exercise apps, it is both a health tracker and fitness community in one. This app is great for expats, especially if you are new to a city. It will even help you find a walking route others have taken and enjoyed. It also allows you to log and share your walks with friends and family at home through social media.
Ever been working in Singapore wishing you were on Route 66? Now you can be… sort of. This fun app helps track your day to day progress and plots it against virtual routes in some of the most amazing locations around the world. From Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Great Wall of China the route is your choice!
The best thing is, you can invite friends and family to virtually join you on your walk. That way you can all log your physical activity to the challenge and encourage each other on the way.
 This app is not for medical use but if you want to track how your heart is responding to changes in your diet and fitness routine, this could help. There is no additional equipment required, just your iPhone, it uses your camera to track the changes in blood flow to your face caused by your heart beat. It also includes a range of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routines that you can do anywhere to improve your fitness.
This app for Android will explain what puts you at higher risk of developing heart problems and provide advice on how to reduce your chances of heart disease. It provides handy lists of what foods to eat more of and what foods to avoid if you want to keep your heart healthy.

If you want to take your health and fitness monitoring to another level, consider investing in a wearable fitness activity tracker.

Apple have upped the wearable tech game when it comes to heart health with the Apple Watch 4. This new piece of kit has such amazing technology that it can even conduct an ECG for wearers. It can also monitor your heart rhythm in the background to detect irregular rhythms that should be investigated by your doctor.

Remember, no technology should or could take the place of a thorough check up with your doctor. Ensure you have the international health insurance you need to stay healthy while you are working abroad.

Allianz Partners or Allianz Care has no affiliation with the companies and apps mentioned above.