Alex O'Brien


How wearable devices could save your life

How wearable devices could save your life

In emergencies, if you’re found alone or unconscious, it can be extremely difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat you as they have little information to go off. Luckily, thanks to the emergence of wearable technology, medical professionals now have access to a myriad of important health data – data which could save your life.

That’s what happened to 62-year-old Dennis Anselmo in March, who claims his Apple Watch tipped him off to a skyrocketing heart rate and persuaded him to go to the hospital. As it turns out, Anselmo had several blockages in his arteries, and had he not been alerted to his abnormal heart activity, doctors say it’s likely he would have died.

“I started feeling immediately really lousy, almost flu-like symptoms,” he told the Daily Mail. “I was hot and cold at the same time – just feeling generally terrible. So I said to my helper, I have to take five minutes and sit down to see if this passes.

“While I was doing that, I flipped to the heart rate monitor and it was at 210 bpm [beats per minute]. So I said, ‘We’ve got to call 911.’” That decision saved his life.

Anselmo isn’t the only senior whose humble wristband has alerted him to a health emergency. In April, BuzzFeed reported that a man’s Fitbit data had provided his doctors with crucial information to diagnose and treat his heart condition.

After recognising that the man was wearing the fitness tracker (which monitored heart rate and other biometric data), the doctors were able to view all the health data in the man’s phone – including his highly erratic heart rate. This data allowed the doctors to conclude the man had atrial fibrillation triggered by a seizure, and without this information they would have been unable to give him the proper treatment – an electrocardioversion.

So, if you’ve ever been sceptical of these fancy new gadgets, perhaps these stories have changed your mind.

Do you own a fitness tracker or smart watch? Let us know in the comments what you think of it.

Related links:

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Technology is revolutionising aged care

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