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OhioHealth Medical Minute: Heart Apps

01-27-20 MM Dr Weiner Heart Apps

Nowadays, it seems like there’s an app for everything, including ones for monitoring your heart health. While most wearable devices like Apple Watches and Fitbits come installed with these types of features, there’s still an endless amount of options to choose from on the market right now.

Justin Weiner, MD, an electrophysiologist at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, answers some of the questions surrounding heart apps and when you should actually start paying attention to them.

When it comes to choosing the right one for you, the process begins by looking at what you already have.

“I think for the most part things are available on our devices already,” said Dr. Weiner. “Otherwise, it just depends on what the issue is and what you decide is best, and sometimes that’s a conversation to have with your doctor.”

Heart apps come in all shapes, sizes and capabilities. If you’re looking for something basic, many smart watches and fitness trackers already have features that can measure heart rate and rhythm. However, new cutting-edge technology has created more medically advanced options to choose from.

“Other things that might be more complicated and require higher technology would be an actual EKG strip, so seeing electrocardiogram exactly what the heart is doing electrically at that time,” said Dr. Weiner. “EKG is really coming out to be the new technology at this time.”

Though it can be super convenient to have easy access to all of this information, you shouldn’t worry too much if you notice things like abnormal heart rhythms popping up on your device.

“I have seen a lot of tracings on Apple Watches in particular that have been completely normal but have alarmed as abnormal,” said Dr. Weiner. ‘It really depends on your risk level. If you’re a young, healthy person and you’re getting alarms from your Apple Watch, it’s not that you should ignore it, but it’s probably not abnormal. Now maybe if you’re at higher risk, you’re a little older, or you’re having real symptoms, like palpitation or heart pounding, that’s when you need to pay a little more attention.”

In general, it starts with knowing what you’re comfortable with and always checking in with your doctor if you have any questions.

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