One condition for which people use these devices is atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is an irregular heart rhythm that may or may not cause symptoms. If you do get symptoms, you might feel as if your heart is palpating, racing. skipping beats or pounding as if it’s going to jump out of your chest. You might also feel tired, short of breath, weak or anxious.
A wearable device can alert you if it senses that you might be having an episode of AFib. Dr. Christopher DeSimone, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and electrophysiologist, says wearables can be great for many patients. But he also has some caveats to consider, because they may not be ideal for all patients. He says it depends on the individual and if you have symptoms of not. For example, if you do have symptoms and keep checking the device to see what’s happening, your stress level could soar.
“Even when they’re in the room I see patients checking their watch, and that’s not a good thing,” says DeSimone. “Why? Because that’s added stress and anxiety and that worsens their atrial fibrillation in my opinion. You’re going to be so nervous and revved up that you’re likely going to initiate the AFib or keep it persistent. That’s not helping.”
He says wearables are great options for patients who are asymptomatic and don’t know when they’re in atrial fibrillation, because the device can let them know when a bad rhythm might be happening.
DeSimone says wearable devices are not perfect, and he trusts what his patients tell him more than what wearable devices relay.
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