Millions of people suffer the daily struggle of controlling their asthma symptoms. Trying to avoid possible triggers and not knowing when the next attack may occur. Many of the attacks and hospitalizations are preventable if the patient understands their condition and avoids triggers and situations which can cause an asthma attack.
Scientists have developed ‘Wing’, a pocket-sized device that plugs into your smartphone and can detect early warning signs of an asthma attack, which the company states as being of ‘medical-grade’ accuracy. By blowing into the sensor it accurately measures lung function by calculating how much air you can exhale in one second and how fast you can exhale and stores and tracks this data.
Everyone’s respiratory condition is slightly different but by using the device consistently over time the program can learn about the individual’s condition and become personalised. It can allow the patient to visualise their lung function via a ‘stop-light’ zone system, detect environmental and medication triggers that can cause symptoms to flare-up and help the user be able to take preventative measures to stop an asthma attack from occurring.
Studies carried out with patients using oxygen have shown that where patients are monitoring their lung function better and improving it by avoiding flare-ups and attacks that can cause further damage, the oxygen they are consuming is then being more effectively utilized by their lungs and uptake and subsequent blood oxygen levels are significantly improved.
It can also help monitor other conditions such as cystic fibrosis and other COPD-related conditions. Other user groups such as athletes, singers and wind musicians can also make great use of the app. It can proactively help the user to understand and monitor their lung function and to work with a doctor to avoid triggers and find a treatment plan to keep you breathing at your best. Users have not only been able to avoid attacks but have also improved their lung function, breathing and quality of life.
Wing currently works on any iPhone 5 or later running iOS8 or later with an Android app currently in development and plugs in via the headphone jack port. It runs off of the smartphone battery so no need for an additional power supply.
The device is expected to gain its FDA approval by next year and be ready for purchase by August 2016. This will be an exciting new and easy aid for millions of people to use as part of their treatment plan to help combat various respiratory conditions but is also adaptable to be used by healthy individuals to monitor and improve their lung function.