Smartwatches Are Saving Lives, But Don't Call Them Doctor (Yet)

Live Science | 6/12/2018 | Staff
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James T. Green thought he was having a panic attack.

He took a break from work to walk around the block during a stressful day, and noticed he felt out of breath strolling up a slight incline. This isn't normal, Green thought. He had become an avid cycler in recent months and wasn't exactly out of shape. He sat down at his desk, and looked at the Apple Watch on his wrist.

Heart - Rate - Roof - HeartWatch - App

His heart rate was through the roof, and the HeartWatch app he was using to check his pulse was flashing warnings. Maybe it was something more serious, he thought.

Although he had a pulmonary embolism a few years back — blood clots in his lungs — he had been taking medication, and doctors said that it was an unusual condition for someone in their mid-20s. Still, the symptoms this time were much less severe, and he was feeling stressed, so his mind didn't automatically jump to blood clots. Green's doctor told him it sounded like anxiety. But then he showed her a log of his heart rate recorded by the Apple Watch.

Heart - Rate - Graph - App - Heart

"This is my normal heart rate," Green told her, pointing to the graph in the app. "This is where my heart is now. There's something wrong."

The doctor ordered a CT scan. The blood clots in his left lung had returned.

Ambulance - Green - Emergency - Room - Blood

An ambulance rushed Green to the emergency room, where he was pumped full of blood thinners. He didn't need surgery this time, but doctors told him that if he had waited, a clot could have killed him. Green isn't the only person who has discovered a serious health condition after seeing heart-rate data on a smartwatch. And he won't be the last.

Currently, smartwatches from Apple, Fitbit and others can tell you your heart rate and track your workouts. Some can even...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Live Science
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