TECH BYTE: New Apple Watch Helps Monitor Heart Health

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Smartwatches are a great way to help monitor your health.

Even some doctors are now recommending them.

Cardiologist Dr. Harish Manyam says the Apple Watch Series 4 can help people see if they have an irregular heartbeat before they even make a trip to the doctor’s office.

“The heart rate detector actually tells you if you have a slow pulse, or a very fast pulse, and if the fast pulse is irregular,” Dr. Manyam said.

Most patients with atrial fibrillation – the most common abnormal heart rhythm – have symptoms, but not everyone does.

“The consequence of that may be them having a stroke,” Manyam said. “This is actually interesting technology, because we think that, you know, by detecting atrial fibrillation in people who have potentially no symptoms, you may be able to actually prevent patients from having a stroke, and so I think the impact of this could be very, very huge.”

The AFib feature on the watch will available later this year.

Dr. Manyam says since this a new product, there will likely be some technical issues, so his only worry is that they could get a lot of “false positives.”

“The Apple Watch will trigger, and actually patients will be alerted or notified and say that they do have atrial fibrillation, or they have an abnormal heart rhythm, when indeed they may have nothing,” he said. “So a lot of this may be verification, and us going back through and seeing if the patients actually have AFib. It may unnecessarily alarm people that don’t have AFib, but it will definitely, I think, actually pick up a lot of people who have atrial fibrillation.”

The Apple Watch Series 4 will also be able to take an EKG later this year.

“This is quite groundbreaking technology to actually have a watch on, and to do an electrocardiogram,” Manyam said.

But you should still go to a cardiologist for a more thorough exam.

Dr. Manyam says smartwatches or phones are just another tool to help you stay healthy – like watching your diet, and exercising.

“As we go on down the road into the future, I see more and more technology being involved in actually detecting health care, and being part of our health care, and giving us diagnostic information,” he said.

Dr. Manyam says he definitely recommends the new Apple Watch.

He says it at least gets people to see their doctor for a checkup, which is always good for their health.

Categories: Local News, Tech Byte, Technology

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