During a lifetime, the heart beats about 2.5 billion times. It’s a powerful muscle that constantly pumps blood throughout your body and supplies every cell with oxygen, nutrients, and hormones essential to your survival and thriving.
A healthy heart that beats at a regular rate is crucial for your overall well-being. Conversely, an irregular heartbeat can increase your risk of serious health problems such as atrial fibrillation.
What is atrial fibrillation?
AFib, or atrial fibrillation, is a disorder of the heart’s rhythm, which means it beats chaotically and interrupts blood flow. Atrial fibrillation can be life threatening if left untreated. In fact, it contributes to one in five strokes in the UK.
Although there are a million people in the UK with atrial fibrillation, it may go undiagnosed and it is estimated that there are still half a million people with the condition.
If everyone with atrial fibrillation were treated, it could prevent around 7,000 strokes and save more than 2,000 lives each year in England alone.
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
Atrial fibrillation can be difficult to detect and diagnose. It usually happens sporadically, and when it does, people may experience symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and a fluttering sensation in the chest. On the other hand, many people have no symptoms, so even if you see your doctor, you may appear perfectly healthy on blood pressure tests or electrocardiogram (ECG) results.
As a result, many people don’t know they have atrial fibrillation unless their doctor discovers it by accident. If you are not undergoing medical treatment for another condition, you may not be aware that you are suffering from this electrical disturbance in your heart.
This is where wearable technology could help identify the signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation, allowing you to see a doctor.
What is wearable technology?
Technological innovations have advanced at an incredible speed. Wearable technology refers to devices like smartwatches, which can be worn to track not only your activities such as steps, but also your heart rate, giving you more control over your own health.
The Fitbit Sense is an advanced health smartwatch that lets you track your heart rate 24/7, and with its ECG app you can check your heart rate right from your wrist, so you have better chance of detecting AFib.
Armed with this information about your health, you can have a more informed conversation with your doctor and better manage your well-being.
How the Fitbit ECG app works
According to the RCPE Consensus Conference on Atrial Fibrillation, continuous ECG monitoring leads to a higher rate of successful diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and subsequent treatment.
The Fitbit Sense brings ECG technology to your wrist, so you can record your heartbeat whenever it suits you. There are sensors in the frame with a biosensor core.
Simply hold your fingers on the watch’s stainless steel ring while standing still for 30 seconds to get a reading you can see on your wrist or in the Fitbit app. You can then upload your readings and share them with your doctor. It’s a simple way for people to take an on-the-spot reading of their heart anytime, including any time they notice any unusual heart symptoms. In addition to the compatible Fitbit ECG app, Fitbit users get a more holistic view of their heart health, including a connection to how stress and heart health are linked, which can help users manage their daily heart health.
Learn more about how to assess your heart rhythm for atrial fibrillation (AFib) with the Fitbit ECG app
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