Smartwatches entered our lives and culture less than a decade ago, and Apple and Fitbit continue to improve the technology offered in these wearable devices. Having electrocardiogram capability (ECG) is but one valuable tool to help monitor heart rhythm. So if my smartwatch says irregular heartbeat, should I see a doctor?
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart condition or disorder. In fact, 6 million Americans are affected by AFib or an irregular heartbeat. Another 700,000 may have it, but not know it. If that didn’t get your attention, an irregular heartbeat increases your risk for a stroke by 5 times.
The problem is that normally there are no obvious symptoms of AFib. Add to that, it is difficult to detect because it’s intermittent. The electrical activity in your heart’s upper chamber becomes chaotic causing your heart to beat faster or irregularly. Blood pools in your heart blocking flow to organs and increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and cognitive decline.
When symptoms do appear, you may feel lightheaded and severely fatigued. Heart palpitations and shortness of breath are common. Unfortunately, many pass it off as getting older or a result of increased activity.
Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
Smartwatches become a tool working in the background for your heart health. Even if you are seeing your doctor almost everyday, or you utilize the KardiaMobile tool once a day, you are still not getting an accurate picture of the incidence of atrial fibrillation. However, your “friend” the smartwatch is monitoring your heart as long as you are wearing it.
If it is happening intermittently, you will be alerted when it occurs. The ECG capability is screening your heart all day, every day.
When To See New Jersey Cardiology Associates
Of course your smartwatch is not foolproof, but if you get an alert, don’t panic — but call New Jersey Cardiology Associates.
Your physician can review the recordings from the watch and determine the plan forward. Many physicians believe the smartwatch is almost as accurate as an implantable ECG device.
Pat yourself on the back for wearing a smartwatch with ECG capability and the ability to continuously monitor your heart rhythm.