One in six Americans owns and uses wearable technology. It can provide minute-to-minute updates on such activities as the number of steps you’ve taken during the day and your sleep quality. Wearables also can provide real-time health monitoring that could change the landscape of preventive health.
How wearables can help lower heart disease deaths?
With heart disease being the No. 1 cause of death for Americans, wearable technology has the potential to help lower that alarming statistic. Wearables may:
- Easily track your heart rate, something many older adults could benefit from, said Bimal Padaliya, MD, a cardiologist at the HonorHealth Heart and Vascular Institute. The challenge? Older adults often are not very tech savvy.
- Monitor your heart health and heart-healthy activities, including aerobic exercise. This could make it easier for you to take control of your health and lower your risk of heart complications. For example, doctors recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Wearables are making compliance measurable as opposed to only being prescribed.
- Keep track of stress, which can boost your risk of heart disease. Typically, stress manifests as changes in heart rate. Wearables can pick up on this and can even trigger ways to decrease stress in those moments.
- Excel at heart rhythm monitoring. Some advanced wearables can determine if you're suffering symptoms that include increased or decreased heart rate and even chest pain.
- Offer a real-time EKG, allowing your doctor to make medical decisions accordingly. This can cut down on the number of trips you make to the ER over non-life-threatening chest pain and other symptoms.
Are there preferred wearables?
While doctors don't recommend any particular brand or model of wearables, they realize that wearables worn on the wrist are the most widely embraced. Because they’re non-intrusive, they’re easily adopted into your daily lifestyle. Some common brands include Apple’s iWatch, Android watches or Fitbit products.
As with all medical devices, doctors recommend using wearables with caution and offer a disclaimer. While wearables can be helpful if you have the resources to communicate data to healthcare providers, they also have the potential to amplify obsessive compulsive tendencies or anxiety.