The Apple Watch may have saved the life of a teenager from Massachusetts, by warning him that he had a much higher heart rate than normal. These types of devices could signal health problems, by detecting changes in people’s heart rates, experts say.
Paul Houle Jr. said that one day, after two football practices he felt a lot of back pain. According to him his Apple Watch showed a 145 beats per minute heart rate which was two times more than his normal heart rate. After talking to his trainer, the high school senior was taken to the emergency room.
The teenager was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis (“dissolution of skeletal muscle”), a condition in which the skeletal striated muscle breaks down and muscle fibre is released into the blood. These substances can cause kidney damage and lead to a fast heart rate.
“Doctors told me that if I had not said anything and [had] gone to practice the next day, I very easily could have died,” said Paul Houle.
The Apple Watch was never designed to act as a medical device. However, the Apple Watch can monitor the heart rate, which could potentially alert people to consult a specialist about their health.
According to Dr. Allen Taylor, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C, the heart rate usually indicates the stress level of your body. That is why when any abnormality in the heart rate is noticed, people should immediately consult a doctor. The stress could be caused by an illness, mental stress, or because of to much exercise, Taylor added.
There are several other conditions that can be detected by a heart rate monitor. For instance, one of these conditions may be arterial fibrillation, defined by irregular and rapid beating of the heart. The symptoms for arterial fibrillation are not always present, and arterial fibrillation often starts as brief periods of abnormal hear-beat, from a few seconds, to minutes, and then even days.
Another condition that can be detected is anaemia, which is characterised by a decrease in the number of red blood cells (haemoglobin) in the blood. The Mayo clinic says that this condition often leads to a faster than normal heart rate.
The new app called AirStrip, which people can use on the Apple Watch, allows doctors to check the patients’ heart rates, Dr. Ragavendra Baliga, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, stated.
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