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Smart watch alerts woman to heart risk

Smart watch alerts woman to heart risk

Heart Risk

Joan Fair, a 75-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., says her smart watch saved her life by alerting her to an extremely high heart rate. One night, her heart rate spiked to 220 beats per minute. “I had no indications of any heart rate problems before that,” Fair said.

“There’s no question. It saved my life.

Fair called an ambulance and later underwent successful heart surgery. She now wears her watch strictly for heart rate monitoring.

Dr. Jason Andrade, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Vancouver General Hospital, says wearable devices can continuously monitor heart rhythms for long periods, which is a significant advantage over traditional tests. The most common arrhythmia detected by these devices is atrial fibrillation (AFib), where the heart’s upper chambers beat out of sync with the lower chambers.

Heart rate alerts prove lifesaving

Early detection through wearable technology can prevent severe complications like stroke. Andrade warns about technical limitations, however.

A notification of an irregular heartbeat doesn’t necessarily explain why it’s happening. Some triggers might be benign and require further testing. Heart rate monitoring devices work by scanning blood flow using green LEDs that absorb light as blood flows more during a heartbeat.

This method doesn’t require consecutive wear to detect irregular rhythms. Andrade notes a mismatch between the people who predominantly use these devices (younger people) and those who might benefit most from them. He recommends seeking medical advice for anyone experiencing symptoms like a racing heart, breathlessness, chest discomfort, lightheadedness, or faint spells.

This increasing reliance on wearable tech for health monitoring marks a significant step forward in early detection and proactive healthcare. For Joan Fair, adopting this technology was literally a life-saving decision.

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