The ECG technology can record your heart’s rhythm to detect abnormalities.
By Zia Sherrell
Over the course of a lifetime, the heart beats around 2.5 billion times. It’s a powerful muscle that continuously pumps blood throughout your body and feeds every cell the essential oxygen, nutrients and hormones that are needed for you to survive and thrive.
A healthy heart that beats with a regular rhythm is crucial to your overall wellbeing. Conversely, an irregular heart rate can increase your risk of severe health conditions such as AFib.
What is AFib?
AFib, or atrial fibrillation, is a rhythm disorder of the heart, which means it beats chaotically and interrupts blood flow. AFib can be life-threatening if left untreated. In fact, it contributes to one in five strokes in the UK.
Even though there are one million people in the UK with AFib, it can go undiagnosed and it’s estimated there are another half million people with this condition.
If everyone with AFib were treated, it could prevent around 7,000 strokes and save over 2,000 lives every year in England alone.
How is AFib diagnosed?
AFib can be difficult to detect and diagnose. It usually occurs sporadically, and when it happens, people can experience symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath and a fluttering feeling in the chest. On the other hand, many people have no symptoms at all, so even if you visit your doctor, you may appear completely healthy on blood pressure tests or electrocardiogram (ECG) results.
As a result, many people don’t know they have AFib unless their doctor discovers it by chance. If you’re not having medical treatment for another condition, you could be unaware that you have this electrical disturbance in your heart.
This is where wearable technology could help to identify the signs and symptoms of AFib, enabling you to seek medical advice.
What is wearable tech?
Technological innovations have progressed at an incredible rate. Wearable tech refers to devices like smartwatches, which can be worn to track not only your activities such as steps, but your heart rate too, giving you more control over your own health.
The Fitbit Sense is an advanced health smartwatch that allows you to track your heart rate 24/7, and with its ECG app, you can check your heart rhythm right from your wrist, so you have a better chance of detecting AFib.
Armed with these insights into your health, you can have a more informed conversation with your doctor and better manage your wellbeing.
How the Fitbit ECG app works
According to the RCPE Consensus Conference on AFib, continuous ECG monitoring leads to a higher rate of successful AFib diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
The Fitbit Sense brings ECG technology to your wrist, so you can record your heart’s rhythm when it’s convenient for you. There are sensors in the frame along with a biosensor core.
Simply hold your fingers to the stainless steel ring on the watch while being still for 30 seconds to get a reading which you can see on your wrist or you can see on the Fitbit app. You can then download your reading(s) and share with your doctor. It’s a simple way people can take an on-the-spot reading of their heart at any time, including whenever they notice any unusual cardiac symptoms. In addition to the compatible Fitbit ECG App, Fitbit users are given a more holistic view of their heart health, including a connection to how stress and heart health are related, which can help users to manage their heart health day-to-day.