Listen up, Apple Watch users: A new FDA-approved band is on the market and it can help you monitor your heart in a whole new way.
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Yes, you can feel when your heart is beating fast after a run or a nerve-racking situation — but most of us aren’t doctors and can’t tell whether this is normal or an actual problem. Detecting when a heart has a truly irregular rhythm by yourself is a toss up, and the only way to confirm an atrial fibrillation (AFib) is to get an electrocardiogram (EKG) from a cardiologist.
AliveCor is a company known for their mobile heart monitors that can be stuck on the back of a smartphone and run an EKG. After two years of testing, AliveCor was given the green light by the FDA to market the KardiaBand as a heart-monitoring wristband for the Apple Watch.
According to a study conducted by heart doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, researchers found that the band’s algorithm correctly distinguished AFib hearts from normal functioning hearts over 90 percent of the time. Basically, this means that the KardiaBand can give people an instant and pretty accurate idea of whether they have something to worry about — an analysis that could only previously be done during a trip to the doctor.
Here’s how the KardiaBand runs a 30-second EKG:
What’s the big deal about irregular heart beats, you ask? If the abnormality is serious and not caught early, irregular rhythms can cause stroke, blood clots, or heart disease — so heart rhythm really isn’t something to be ignored.
This isn’t to say that AFib is always a life or death situation — not every too-fast or too-slow heart is an emergency, so don’t freak out. However, many people are deterred from going to the doctor because they don’t want to admit something is wrong, and overlooking possible AFib risks can lead to serious consequences. But thanks to KardiaBand, EKGs can now be done in the comfort of your own home. (Note: A doctor’s analysis should still be sought out if the band tells you something’s up.)
As more health and fitness devices are designed to work with popular consumer tech, like Apple iPhones and smartwatches, it’s helpful that doctors are scrutinizing some of these devices to ensure they work as advertised — even after they pass the FDA’s rigorous protocols.
For $199, you can get a 38mm or 42mm KardiaBand here — and if you want the KardiaBand but don’t have an Apple Watch yet, you can snag the Apple Watch 3 here. If you don’t have an Apple Watch and don’t want an Apple Watch, AliveCor’s mobile EKG monitors for smartphones are also up for grabs for $99.