Smartwatches can be used for a variety of things such as measuring steps and calories burned, but who knew they could also save your life? The Heart Rate app on the Apple Watch allows users to enable notifications to alert them of high or low heart rates and irregular heart rhythms.
By regularly tracking your heart beat you can more easily identify changes which could be caused by a more serious condition such as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation, or "a-fib," is a common form of irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart problems. It affects up to six million Americans, but many people don't even know that they have it.
The Heart Rate app uses the device's light-sensor technology to measure blood flow and can also detect slight changes that might indicate an irregular heartbeat. If the sensor detects five out of six repeat episodes of an irregular pulse within a 48-hour period, the app sends wearers an "irregular pulse" notification.
“For people at high risk of heart disease, or a known cardiac condition, smart technology can be a game changer,” said cardiologist, Dennis Disch, MD. “If you record AFib on your watch and bring the reading to your doctor, it may not tell them how often you’re experiencing it, but it does confirm that you’re having symptoms which can be an important step in developing a treatment plan.”
It’s important to recognize that no medical test is perfect and there are always false positives or negatives. While the Apple watch can identify changes in heartbeat, in most cases a medical provider would still require extended monitoring to provide an accurate diagnosis. Apple Watch cannot detect heart attacks. If you experience chest pain, pressure, or tightness call 9-1-1 immediately.
Bonus Apple Watch Feature
Hard fall warning―if you experience a significant hard fall an alarm sounds and an alert is displayed. You can dismiss the alert but if you do nothing within 60 seconds your watch will automatically call emergency services and notify your emergency contact. To enable this service, tap the My Watch tab, tap emergency SOS, and toggle fall detection to turn it on.
Additional health apps
There are also a number of health apps that connect with the Apple Watch. Some of these include:
- Dexacom G6 – If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can check and track your glucose levels by placing a glucose monitor onto your body.
- Yazio – Track activity, log meals, and calculate your calories.
- Meditopia – Meditation to help reduce stress and improve sleep.
To learn more about how a smartwatch can save your life, watch the video below: