Fears over home treatments

Update: September, 24/2018 - 07:30
A woman self-checks her blood pressure. Doctors warn of the impact of low quality home medical equipment on patients’ health. - Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Using low quality home medical equipment is having a serious effect on the health of people in Hà Nội, doctors have warned.

Nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, glucose metres and electronic thermometres are some of the items often purchased by families in the capital for personal use. Several of them came from unclear sources.

Having struggled with diabetes for five years, Trần Thị Xếp, 64, in Nam Từ Liêm District had to go to hospital frequently for checkups. Weary of the long distance from her house to the hospital and medical procedures, she decided to buy a glucose metre at VNĐ1.2 million (US$51) to check her glucose level at home.

After using it for a month, she realised the machine showed the same results at different times in one morning. Taking the results to see her doctor, Xếp learned the machine she bought was of low quality, which only showed accurate results for people with average blood glucose levels, not those with high levels.

Blood pressure monitors are often purchased by people with blood pressure disorders, with prices ranging between VNĐ650,000 ($28) and VNĐ2 million ($86).

However, Dr Nguyễn Thị Thủy from Hà Nội Heart Hospital said several people had been admitted due to hypertension emergencies their monitors could not detect.

“A lot of people with high blood pressure, after receiving professional treatment, stopped taking medicines at home because their monitors show their blood pressure at normal levels,” she said.

“Only when they started feeling tired and uncomfortable did they come to hospital for examination, where the results were completely different.”

Doctors from the National Ear-Nose-Throat Hospital said they had received lots of child patients suffering with rhinitis, pharyngitis, pneumonia after using low quality nebulizers.

About 10,000 types of medical equipment are being sold in Việt Nam, some of them not approved by the Ministry of Health, said Lê Thanh Hải, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Medical Equipment and Works.

“Some companies only think about making profit and sell equipment of unclear origin,” he said. “Individuals and families are the customers that often happened to buy low quality equipment because they don’t have enough medical knowledge to evaluate the machines’ quality.”

Although using home medical equipment for proactive monitoring and early prevention of diseases is encouraged, medical experts said people should take care when it comes to choosing equipment in order to prevent dangerous consequences.

Machines such as nebulizers should not be used at home without doctor’s prescription, especially for patients with asthma and chronic lung diseases, since inhaling wrong dose of wrong medication can lead to irritation and bronchospasm.

People should always buy equipment of clear origin and consult doctors before purchase. They should not rely entirely on home medical equipment and should come to hospitals to get professional diagnoses. — VNS