The FitBit as AT

A FitBit can be a helpful piece of assistive technology (AT) equipment for myriad health-related needs. One of AbleData's Information Specialists, Marleen Gonzales, recently purchased a FitBit to help her monitor her sleeping habits. Co-Information Specialist, Elizabeth Lee, interviewed Marleen on the benefits she's experienced with her recent purchase.

Elizabeth: What it is a FitBit?

Marleen: A FitBit is a wearable health monitoring device that tracks daily activities. It allows users to monitor the number of steps they take, the amount of exercise they do, the calories they burn, and the quantity and quality of their sleep. 

Elizabeth: Why did you start using a FitBit?

Marleen: My doctor recommended that I start using a FitBit to help manage my sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes pauses in breaths while a person sleeps and often results in poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue and migraines. In the past, I needed to visit my doctor on a regular basis to monitor my sleep quality. With my FitBit, I can monitor my sleep quality in the comfort of my own home, as well as track my sleep trends and habits over time and present the results in a way that is useful for both myself and my doctor. Being able to do all of these activities on my own without having to go to the doctor has saved me time and money.

My doctor also recommended increasing my physical activity to help me manage my sleep apnea. My FitBit allows me to track my activities and set fitness goals. Seeing my accomplishments and progress towards these goals helps to keep me motivated throughout the day.

Elizabeth: What are the some of the benefits of using a FitBit?

Marleen: My FitBit allows me to monitor how long and how well I sleep, and that knowledge empowers me to better manage my sleep apnea. I wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that helps me breathe so I can rest better. My FitBit lets me know how many times I was restless during the night, so I am able to tell if wore the mask properly or if I need to readjust It.

I have also noticed that there is a relationship between how active I am and the quality of my sleep - the more I walk during the day, the better I sleep during the night. My FitBit helps me track steps and lets me know if I need to incorporate more physical activity into my day.

Elizabeth: Can a FitBit help individuals with other health conditions or disabilities?

Marleen: A FitBit can be beneficial to individuals across ages and abilities. A FitBit can help individuals who are looking to lose weight, be fit, track their diet, or are just interested in knowing more about their personal health statistics.

I have read studies that indicate walking at least ten thousands steps a day can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Movement can also help decrease stress, improve mood, and increase sleep quality and quantity. In my case, I am hopeful that continued use of my FitBit will help me lose weight and manage my sleep apnea.

The FitBit app also includes a social element that allows users to connect with friends to help them stay motivated. I haven’t used it yet, but I plan to.

Elizabeth: What recommendations did your doctor give you to get the most out of your FitBit?

Marleen: My doctor recommended that I wear it every day and consistently throughout the day. That’s the best way to track your activities and make sure that no data is lost due to not wearing it for a few hours or days.  

Elizabeth: Would you say that your quality of life has improved since you starting wearing your FitBit?

Marleen: Absolutely. I needed to do something to stop feeling tired and fatigued throughout my day, without the added stress of frequent visits to the doctor. The FitBit gives me the opportunity to be on top of my health and focus on my goals.

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