The current growth of the population ages 65 and older is one of the most significant demographic trends in the history of the United States. The “Aging in the United States” report by Population Reference Bureau notes that the number of Americans ages 65 and older is on course to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060.
Baby Boomer Generation, today aged between 54 - 72, represents nearly 20% of the American population. PRB observes that baby boomers are living longer than previous generations. They also have, on average, higher levels of education, more work experience, and are expected to have greater economic security in old age.
As Baby Boomers age, the problems associated with degenerative diseases become more complex and the problems of treating and monitoring health conditions have become very critical and urgent.
Recent technological breakthroughs have had a dramatic impact on the medical field, and the area of aging has been no exception. Most diseases and illnesses, both chronic and short-term, are more prevalent with aging, and this has shown in the healthcare industry ,with aging related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's costs taking up over 80% of healthcare budgets.
The necessity of providing solutions to these diseases coupled with the technological advancement of medical science has created an emerging field that has lead to exciting developments. Some of the most recognizable breakthroughs in the past 10 years have been the advances in stem cell research, genomic application, a stronger understanding of cellular-level processes, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy, not to mention among others.
Much of the technological breakthroughs in aging and medicine in general have been possible with the collection and synthesis of data. Data collection has enabled researchers to add new dimensions to medical technology by extrapolating data to create a more cohesive picture of the causes and solutions of various illnesses.
One of the companies that has been disruptive in this growing area of aging technologies is BE Technologies. Its new device, MenHealth® is a great example of innovation in the aging sector. A very significant problem affecting male well-being is lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
LUTS are often related to problems of the bladder, prostate and/or urethra, and the common cause of these symptoms is BPH (an enlarged prostate). BPH is most common among aging men, with about half of the men between 51 and 60 suffering from BPH and 90% of men over 80 suffering from BPH. The key method to identify LUTS/BPH is through Uroflowmetry, a diagnostic test that identifies abnormalities in urine flow and amount.
As a solution, MenHealth® has created the first software based uroflowmetry application, featuring easy to read data and speech recognition. This is a very big advancement in the aging/tech realm. Not only does the application itself create an easy and mobile way to test urine flow, it uses advanced data parameters that allow the users to get a full picture of their urinary health.
MenHealth® is the first mobile application that gives men opportunity for self assessment. It provides accurate urine flow measurement and enables men to be more aware of their medical conditions and to control them.
The test results can be easily shared with doctors to help diagnose and manage urinary dysfunction. The application processes sound of urine when it hits water surface in a toilet and calculates flow and its dynamics. This data can differentiate diagnosis and give doctors a more profound insight into the core of the problem.
With new technologies like MenHealth® monitoring and managing the health and wellbeing of Baby Boomers and the future aging population will become easier and will enable doctors and medical professionals to collect valuable data, have a more cohesive picture of the symptoms, and ultimately find better treatments to various illnesses.