Can Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Detect Heart Attack? 

Is it possible to have a heart attack while working out? Yes, it’s possible through strenuous exertion. That’s why many cardiologists are advising their patients to continuously monitor their heart rate. Now, you’re wondering, “Can smartwatch heart rate monitor detect heart attack?” 

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If you have a heart condition, you’re prone to a heart attack. Now, you’re scared to work out. But there’s really no reason for you to do so. 

Regular exercise can help in strengthening your heart muscle. To ease your worry, you may choose to invest in a smartwatch that features a heart rate monitor. 

Can Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Detect Heart Attack Accurately? 

Several smartwatches now have heart rate monitor feature. They have special sensors that can record your heart’s electrical signature. It can also detect any irregular rhythm and alerts you about it. 

However, the heart rate monitor feature of a smartwatch must not be used as a replacement to a medical device. But this feature can pick up any irregular heartbeat. 

You may use the data and show them to your cardiologist. Your heart doctor will compare the data to your lab work so he/she could find possible treatment to regulate your heart rate. 

Regarding heart attack detection, no smartwatch is designed to detect heart attacks. Not even the most expensive smartwatch — Apple Watch. 

Smartwatches can’t detect a myocardial infarction (MI). However, it can help in diagnosing any rhythm abnormalities. But the data should be paired with other details of your heart, like ECG and 2D Echo. 

Then again, you will receive an alert that your resting heart rate is high. 

If you’re experiencing chest pain, you may check your HR through your smartwatch. But your watch can’t detect if you’re having a heart attack. However, it can tell your resting heart rate. Higher or lower resting HR may indicate a problem. 

What is the Normal Resting Heart Rate? 

Keep in mind that a normal heart rate is between 50 beats and 100 beats per minute. If it’s above 100 beats per minute, it’s called tachycardia. If it’s below 50 beats per minute, then it’s called bradycardia. 

If your heart rate is too slow or too fast, it may be an indication of a heart problem, especially if it’s accompanied by dizziness, chest pain, fatigue, and dizziness. 

Can Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Detect Arrhythmia? 

Arrhythmia or AFib is an irregular heart rhythm. It’s under-diagnosed because it occurs intermittently. 

A smartwatch can detect arrhythmia if it has a machine learning algorithm. However, the data presented shouldn’t be used solely to diagnose arrhythmia. 

Then again, they can be useful in helping your cardiologist understand your heart’s condition. 

In a study, researchers gathered more than 400,000 people wearing a smartwatch. The goal was to know whether or not the smartwatch with HR can detect irregular heart flow. 

The study showed that only 0.5% received an alert that they’re having an arrhythmia. Half of those who followed up the alert with their cardiologists. But around 70% of them have signs of Afib when they wore an ECG patch for a week to detect their heart rhythm. 

Can Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Detect Sleep Apnea? 

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Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes disruptions in breathing. The disruptions can last for a few minutes and they can recur many times. 

When you have this condition, you’ll feel tired or sleepy during the day. Diagnosing this condition, however, may require wireless technologies. They allow doctors to investigate the causes of the condition. In that way, you can get better treatments. 

Detecting sleep apnea is challenging. It’s not just about adding oxygen sensors. The data provided by the tracker may not be enough to diagnose this condition. 

Your doctor may still require you to undergo comprehensive monitoring and testing before he can give you a proper diagnosis. 

An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Four percent of the female population has this type of condition. The male population has 9 percent. 

Sleep apnea is a symptom that can lead to a serious health issue, such as stroke, irregular heartbeat, and hypertension. Accidents can also happen because of daytime drowsiness. 

Your doctor may still recommend that you undergo a sleep study after showing your smartwatch data that can suggest sleep apnea. Sleep study requires that you sleep in a lab overnight. Your heart rate, brainwaves, oxygen saturation, and several others are recorded. 

A CPAP machine is typically prescribed if you are properly diagnosed with sleep apnea. This machine includes pumps and masks to control the flow of air so you can breathe properly. 

Although a smartwatch can detect sleep patterns, it may not validate that you have sleep apnea. Your doctor may recommend it as a device that lets you check your symptoms. As mentioned earlier, to detect sleep apnea, your doctor will have to measure your respiratory effort. 

However, the sleep pattern that the smartwatch can detect is useful for your doctor in detecting whether or not you have insomnia. Your doctor can see if you are getting enough sleep. 

Is Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Accurate? 

A smartwatch with a heart rate monitor can alert you if your heart is too low or too high while resting. It could be a sign of a health issue. Depending on the smartwatch, the heart rate detected by the watch can be accurate. 

There are many factors to consider to ensure that the watch can detect HR accurately. You need to wear it properly on your wrist. There might be some delays in giving you HR. For instance, if you are palpitating, it will take a few seconds before your smartwatch can detect it.

Once the watch has detected it, the numbers are accurate. It has been tested by many wearers against ambulatory electrocardiography. 

Then again, this device should not be used as a replacement for your medical device. If you think that you have an irregular heartbeat and your smartwatch has detected it, you should go to your doctor. 

You’ll need to undergo a series of tests to identify the cause of your irregular heartbeat or any other issues as detected by your device. 

Which Smartwatch with Heart Rate Monitor is the Best? 

Most smartwatches with the heart rate monitor feature can detect accurately your HR. The accuracy still depends on how you use it when monitoring your heart rate. 

Apple Watch Series 5

The first on our list is Apple Watch Series 5. But if you’re tight on budget, this isn’t the best smartwatch for you. And it only works with the iPhone. 

It has an always-on display with excellent tracking features. Plus, it has plenty of useful smartwatch apps. It comes with a Compass app and international emergency calling. 

Huawei Honor Band 5

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This is a great alternative to Apple Watch 5, especially if you can’t afford to shell out more than $300 for a smartwatch. It has a blood oxygen sensor while Apple 5 doesn’t have any. This isn’t bad for a budget smartwatch with multiple functions

Plus, it has sleep tracking features that can give you a comprehensive breakdown of your sleep. Most of all, the battery can last up to 6 days. But it depends on how you use this tracker. 

F9 Waterproof Smartwatch 

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The best thing about this fitness tracker is that its battery can last up to 15 days. Then again, it depends on the features you activated. HR monitoring feature consumes a lot of your watch’s battery. 

It has caller ID and smart notifications, too. This watch also comes with sleep monitoring and inactivity alert. You’re going to love this smartwatch because, well, it looks like the Apple Watch. 

It won’t look like a budget-friendly smartwatch. It is like Huawei Honor Band 5 that looks like an expensive, luxurious smartwatch. 

Smartwatch Heart Rate Monitor Vs ECG

Heart rate monitor is one of the attractive features of new smartwatches on the market. But the watch has to be paired with an app to classify your heart rhythm. 

However, the HR monitor should not be used to replace the data provided by the ECG. The ECG is the gold standard when diagnosing a heart condition. ECG measures the blood flow from 12 points on your body. As a result, it gives your doctor a 360-degree view of your electrical activity. 

The tracking will present your heart rate, regularity, and rhythm. Keep in mind that the heart produces different shapes of activity because of its size and muscularity. 

With the use of the ECG, it detects what chamber is beating at what time. The wave also indicates which heart muscle is enlarged or thickened. 

However, if the HR of your smartwatch detects palpitations or anything irregular about your heartbeat, you should consider talking to your doctor. Always remember that the smartwatch with the heart rate feature should not replace your trip to the doctor. 

You can’t rely on your smartwatch to detect every heart rhythm abnormality or worsening of your heart condition. It must not be used to detect electrical changes that occur during a heart attack. 

But it is useful for your heart doctor to understand your symptoms. 

Heart Rate Monitor vs Blood Pressure 

Another common question being asked by many fitness enthusiasts is if a smartwatch can detect blood pressure. 

It depends on the smartwatch brand you’re using. Apple Watch, for instance, can take your BP reading but it is not 100% accurate. 

To use it to measure your BP, you have to connect a blood pressure monitor. This monitor must be validated medically for accuracy. 

But other smartwatches can give you BP reading. For instance, the F1 Blood Pressure Reading smart bracelet has a BP reading feature. 

If BP reading is vital to you, then consider this BP monitoring wearable. Its battery can last up to 10 days. But it still depends on the features you have activated. The more features you enabled, the faster the battery will drain. 

Then again, no matter how accurate the BP reading is, you must still not use it as a medical device. These smartwatches are designed for monitoring purposes. You must still visit your physician and talk about your symptoms. 

However, BP monitoring is vital as it warns you if you are being hypertensive or hypotensive. This is a fitness tracker that enables you to keep track of your health. 

Tracking your BP is truly a big deal. With a BP monitoring through a smartwatch, you can measure your BP. But you must not treat it as a medical device. 

Heart Rate Monitor vs Pulse Rate Monitor 

Yes, there’s a difference between the two. 

Heart rate is the times per minute that your heart contracts or beats. 

Pulse rate, on the other hand, is the times per minute that your arteries expand and contract while your heart pumps. It is equal to the heartbeat. As your heart contracts, it increases BP in the artery causing noticeable pulse. In that case, when you take your pulse, you’re measuring your heart rate. 

When your heart rate increases, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your BP reading also increases. Your heart may beat more times per minute. 

However, if you have healthy blood vessels, they just get larger to let more blood flow through easily. Your BP reading when your heart rate is high may increase. But the increase is only in a modest amount and not significant. 

While exercising, it’s normal to experience an increase in heart rate. Your heart rate must increase when you exercise to give you more oxygen and energy. 

Your HR will increase when you exercise. There will be a decrease in your target HR over time. It means that your heart works less to deliver the necessary oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. 

Cardiovascular workout can help in reducing your target heart rate. The ideal target HR lowers with age. It demonstrates the full capacity of your heart and it can be reached through HIIT. 

The speed your heart isn’t the only factor to consider when evaluating your health. The rhythm is also vital. That is when your heart beats it has to be in a steady rhythm. It must have a gap between beats. 

You may feel that you have missed or skipped a beat. In some cases, you may also feel that there is an extra beat or ectopic beat. It is common and typically harmless. It also doesn’t require treatment. 

If your smartwatch heart rate monitor detects that you have faster than normal heartbeat, the first thing that you must do is to relax. Now, if it continues to increase even if you are relaxed, you must go to the emergency room There’s no need to panic. But you must talk to your doctor about it.

Comments (2)
Alexia Lewis
September 28, 2020

For instance, while having a low heart rate ( below 60 beats per minute) can be a sign of a heart issue, thyroid disorder, sleep apnea, or a side effect of high blood pressure medications, in many cases, it s totally harmless—especially if you re a serious athlete. Long-distance runners, for example, are prone to having lower heart rates (bradycardia), Dr. Doshi says. If you re not an athlete, having a watch that detects bradycardia could tip you off that something isn t right with your heart and prompt you to seek care, Dr. Doshi says. But it could also give you a false positive and freak you out for no reason.

    September 28, 2020

    Hello Alexia,

    Thanks for your comment and for visiting. We totally agree with you. Wearing a smartwatch can be a boon but it can also be a nightmare. It’s always best to consult your doctor if you think that something isn’t right. Don’t just depend on any device.

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