A new study shows that the Apple Watch could help detect A-fib
Every year, we marvel more and more at the feats Apple Inc. is able to accomplish. From iPhones to Macs to iPads and iPad minis – their ingenuity seems to have no end.
The lives of people everywhere in the world are being impacted by Apple’s latest technology, and what studies are beginning to reveal about their Apple Watch could be even more life-changing than any of their technology has been before.
Watches have always been a great accessory. Not only do they accent your wrist, help you keep track of time, and give you a look of maturity, but now this particular watch has the potential to save your life. As if the Apple Watch wasn’t already amazing, now it has the potential to detect possible heart conditions right when they arise.
A recent study based on 419,000 Apple Watch users illustrated that the watch had the capacity to detect irregular heartbeats. Though it’s nowhere near ready to be a completely dependable source, the possibility is undoubtedly there and is already showing that it works. So, what does this mean for heart health?
Atrial Fibrillation – The Silent Killer
Stanford University carried out the study to see if the Apple Watch picked up on a particular heart condition; the test pool, 419,000 users, is one of the largest pools that screened healthy people for this specific heart condition called atrial fibrillation which often causes strokes when it goes untreated.
As the system is not yet perfect, the study flagged a high number of 2,100 participants as possibly having a problem.
As they took the study to its next step, the results of Apple Watch’s technology were even more promising. Those who were flagged were made to consult with a doctor and measure their heart rhythms for a week by wearing an EKG patch. One-third of the group tested positive for Atrial Fibrillation!
The Facts about A-Fib
A-fib is so dangerous because, most often, patients can’t even tell they have it. In fact, the condition causes 130,000 deaths a year and a greater number of hospitalizations. The condition occurs when the bottom and top chambers of the heart are out of sync with each other which results in heart fluttering at times and heart racing at others.
Often, the heart is able to get itself back into rhythm, but otherwise, an electric shock or blood thinner is necessary to treat the condition. A-fib can also be present some times and not at others, so it can be tricky to catch.
Routine screening for A-fib is discouraged by doctors as over-testing and over-treating can result in their own set of problems, but even though the condition occurs most often in older adults, if you have a history in your family of heart trouble, it may be in your best interest to check your own heart.
There is Still a Long Way to Go to Make it Viable
“This study, we believe, provides very encouraging evidence that a device, the Apple Watch, can be used to detect A-fib and to point out to people when additional monitoring or testing may be needed,” noted Stanford’s dean of medicine, Dr. Lloyd Minor.
It’s key to note that you cannot make a proper diagnosis with just the watch’s result; a follow-up appointment with a doctor is necessary. Some doctors, however, are wholly against it, like the director of Mount Sinai in New York, Dr. Valentin Fuster, who openly stated, “I would not advise this to the general population.”
Most likely, doctors are worried that wearers would rely too heavily on their watches to keep tabs on their health without ever seeing a doctor, possibly resulting in life-ending maladies. However, if understood responsibly, it’s possible that your wristwatch might actually save your life.