Countless people across the world use Fitbit activity trackers to help them stay on top of their fitness goals.
These handy little devices provide detailed information about the body and how it performs in areas such as heart rate, number of steps walked in a day, quality of sleep and calories burned during a workout, and it now seems that the data provided by Fitbits can help predict impeding health problems.
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As reported on CNN, 73-year-old Patricia Lauder of Connecticut noticed in mid-January how the data from her Fitbit activity tracker was registering an unusually high heart rate.
While Lauder typically has a heart rate of 60 to 60 beats per minute, her Fitbit was logging a heart rate of over 140 beats per minute, something which caused the retiree concern.
Lauder had already visited her local doctor due to a recent sinus infection and was awaiting test results but the sharp increase in her heart rate and the effort it took to complete even the simplest of tasks prompted her to dial 911 and request emergency services.
Lauder was taken to the hospital by ambulance and during the ride paramedics confirmed what her Fitbit data had already told her: she had an abnormally high heart rate of 140 beats per minute, a possible indicator of a more serious condition.
A number of tests were conducted once Lauder reached the hospital and doctors were very quickly able to determine that she had blood clots in both lungs.
The blood clots caused in blockages in both lungs, which in turn forced her heart to work harder to ensure a continuous flow of blood around the body resulting in an irregularly high heart rate.
Clot-busting drugs were applied directly to the lungs and Lauder’s heart and lung functionality returned to normal within 24 hours.
Dr. JuYong Lee of UConn Health Calhoun Cardiology Center said this about the case:
‘I think the Fitbit actually helped her decide whether or not this was a serious condition at that time. This condition is very critical, and she may have actually died if she had not sought medical attention.’