SEP 23, 2018 9:30 AM PDT

Take Control of Your Heart Data With Apple's New Watch

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

 

Consumer grade activity trackers have been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. Although these wearables initially were very unreliable, today they are more accurate than ever before. For example, the newest Apple watch is considered a medical device and has been approved by the FDA. Apple's is the first ever smartwatch to receive FDA clearance for EKG monitoring. At first, these devices were exclusively used in medical settings or by elite athletes. Today, consumers range from beginner exercisers to those looking to share heart data with medical professionals. This FDA approval is fantastic news for cardiac patients who are increasingly likely to track and store their own data.

The watch has insofar only been announced and can be preordered. Shoppers will be able to find them in stores starting the 21st of September. Traditionally, fitness trackers worked by using accelerometers or specialized lights. Apple’s watch reads the heart via electrodes on the reverse of the watch face that measure the heart's electrical signals. The associated app will record heart data in the form of detailed charts. On the watches face users can easily track their progress towards their daily step goal on an easy-to-read display.  

This technology is especially helpful for recovering cardiac patients who need to exercise within a doctor prescribed heart range. The devices permit patients to avoid some of the anxiety associated with working out post heart event, outside of a doctor supervised setting. Use of such devices is likely to increase adherence to exercise prescription ultimately benefiting a patient’s recovery. Users can also upload workout data to social media to boost social support or for their personal trainers, a known motivator. Additionally, the watch tracks in the background for abnormal heart sounds and will alert users to arrhythmias.

Concerned users will also find peace of mind in the technology that allows Apple watch to track if a user may have fallen. In the event of such a fall, the watch will first offer to summon emergency services. After a full minute has passed with a user remaining inactive, emergency services will be contacted automatically. A text will also be sent out to preselected persons with an alert and your location.

Traditional EKG machines like the ones you might see in the fitness testing lab have 12 pads containing electrodes that are placed all over the body. Research at North Dakota State University has shown single pad EKGs, like on an Apple‘s latest watch, to be just as effective when measuring heart rate signals.

For those unwilling or unable to fork out the $499 for Apple's latest gadget there are a few reliable options. Although wearable wrist devices that depend on LED lights seem like an attractive option, studies have found them to be less accurate than chest straps containing electrodes. The greater accuracy of chest straps is a result not only of the proximity to the heart but also the technology used to read the heartbeat. Just like the Apple watch the heart straps typically use electrodes. Two of the more popular chest strap brands are Polar and Garmin, with models starting at about $60.

 

Sources: Journal of the America Medical AssociationNorth Dakota State University

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
JUL 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
A Lab on a Chip Could Save Your Life in an Emergency
JUL 21, 2020
A Lab on a Chip Could Save Your Life in an Emergency
Picture this: a hiker on a backcountry trail falls down a rocky embankment, and is left with a deep gash on the leg afte ...
AUG 23, 2020
Cardiology
Gaining Insight Into a Mysterious Network of Fibers in the Heart
AUG 23, 2020
Gaining Insight Into a Mysterious Network of Fibers in the Heart
Leonardo da Vinci knew about a mesh, fibrous network surrounding the heart, and after hundreds of years, scientists are ...
SEP 01, 2020
Cardiology
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
SEP 01, 2020
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
Have you ever experienced the head rush you get from standing up to fast? Well, oddly enough, something similar happens ...
SEP 10, 2020
Cardiology
Many Doctors Have Used the Wrong Criteria to Diagnose Hypertension
SEP 10, 2020
Many Doctors Have Used the Wrong Criteria to Diagnose Hypertension
A recent survey has shown that most health care professionals may not be using the current information to screen for and ...
SEP 29, 2020
Cardiology
Improving Acute Myocardial Ischemia Treatment with Nitro Fatty Acids
SEP 29, 2020
Improving Acute Myocardial Ischemia Treatment with Nitro Fatty Acids
Acute myocardial ischemia occurs when blood flow is restricted in the heart. This usually leads to cardiovascular issues ...
OCT 15, 2020
Immunology
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
OCT 15, 2020
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
In general, men have higher blood pressures than women, giving them an increased risk of developing heart disease. After ...
Loading Comments...