Health Headlines: Health applications of smartwatches

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Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 7:52 AM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Current statistics show there are more than 202 million people worldwide wearing smartwatches. But your Fitbit and apple watch can do so much more than relay your messages, play music or track your steps.

Whether it’s too fast or too slow.

When a heartbeat is off beat it may mean trouble.

Matthew McKillop, MD, Electrophysiologist at Baptist Health in Jacksonville says, “Patients that develop atrial fibrillation can have pretty severe consequences, specifically as it relates to stroke.”

But, you may already be using one of the newest tools in the fight against a-fib: your smartwatch!

Doctor McKillop explains, “Patients now have the ability of recording arrhythmias real time.”

A Stanford study of 400 thousand people found apple watches were able to correctly identify 84 percent of cases of a-fib. A smartwatch also helps doctors monitor patients pre and post-op.

Jeffrey DeClaire, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Founder, Michigan Knee Institute says, “Which will track step counts, stride length, heart rate, and a variety of other data points that we don’t normally track as a surgeon.”

Doctor Jeffrey DeClaire is part of an apple watch study that gives him daily real-time data on his patients before and after knee replacements.

Denise Erhart  says “A month before surgery, they started sending me educational information as well as exercises to do, and they track how you’re doing with your exercises.”

And diabetics like Sydnie Stephens-Boussard can monitor glucose levels without that dreaded pinprick blood test.

Stephens-Boussard explains, “So, when I’m going too high, my watch will ding. And then when I’m going too low it’ll also ding.”

And other studies suggest wearable devices might also be able to catch other illnesses like the common cold, the flu, even Lyme disease.

Doctor McKillop says “This is actually something that is in my own practice directly impacting care.”

Smartwatches are also becoming popular to monitor elderly family members as most have detection technology that will call 911 if they take a fall. Now that the tech is being used, Doctor McKillop says more focus will need to be done on ways to make the health information secure and privacy compliant throughout the healthcare industry.

Contributors to this news report include Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.