HEART DISEASE IS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH WORLDWIDE
Technology to the rescue on the fight against heart disease! Many phones, for example, already have accelerometers that measure physical activity like steps taken, while the Apple Watch and Fitbits use sensors to measure heart rate. Heart irregularities can be dangerous without causing obvious symptoms, so smart devices that can diagnose them could be helpful as a prevention strategy.
IRREGULAR HEART RATE
The most common heartbeat irregularity is called atrial fibrillation, or afib. Afib happens when the two upper chambers of the heart don’t beat in sync with the two lower chambers, and can increase the risk of everything from heart attack to kidney disease to dementia. But it can be hard to detect. New technology has come out to more accurately diagnose Afib and it’s all in the wristband!
The KardiaBand by AliveCor is a sensor that is compatible with the Apple Watch and can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib). The user touches the sensor, which then takes a reading of the electrical activity of the heart, called an electrocardiogram (EKG) and then sends the information to an app. The AliveCor KardiaBand has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
In the past the Fitbits sensor was not as accurate in detecting abnormalities in the heart rate. In October of 2017, Fitbit presented data on an algorithm was developed to detect a atrial fibrillation, using a technology already built into its wristband trackers: photoplethysmography, or PPG. Fitness trackers have long used PPG devices to monitor pulse rates. The tiny sensors, which consist of infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) coupled with a sensitive light detector, measure infinitesimal gradations in light in human tissue, due to changing blood volume. This is used as an indicator to detect an irregular heartbeat or Afib.AFib such a good test case for the digital health revolution. It can often be treated cheaply and effectively with oral anticoagulants once it is detected. Discovering someone who has an undiagnosed arrhythmia could save a life! These wearables are well worth the investment! Not to mention they help keep you motivated to move more!
Is There a Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease?
Overall the data indicates that chronic gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death in both men and women. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can affect your over all health. In heart disease, one theory is that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels. This condition can cause blood clots and may lead to heart attacks.
The best thing that you can do is to prevent gum disease by practicing good oral health habits at home every day. An easy way to change your habits is to simply switch to an electric toothbrush. Studies have demonstrated that the power toothbrush removed significantly more plaque after a single brushing than the standard manual toothbrush (Kurtz, 2016). An electric brush simply moves faster than our hands and can cover more ground that way. So now is the time to switch and you are bombarded with mass amounts of toothbrush choices.
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Why Go Red? Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Support Go Red For Women by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 2, 2018 and donate to help fund research during American Heart Month.
Go Red For Women is a movement that starts with you. Lead by example and make the time to “Know Your Numbers.” It’s knowledge that could save your life. Five numbers, that all women should know to take control of their heart health are: Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). Knowing these numbers can help women and their healthcare provider determine their risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. It’s time for all women to learn the most critical numbers in their life — their hearts depend on it.
In November 2017, Apple launched a Heart Study using the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation
“Every week we receive incredible customer letters about how Apple Watch has affected their lives, including learning that they have AFib. These stories inspire us and we’re determined to do more to help people understand their health,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science.”
Apple is partnering with Stanford Medicine to perform the research. As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm is identified, participants will receive a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a free consultation with a study doctor and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring. The Apple Heart Study app is available in the US App Store to customers who are 22 years or older and have an Apple Watch Series 1 or later.
The first minutes after an accident are critical and essential to provide the right care to prevent escalation. Speeding up emergency response can prevent deaths and accelerate recovery dramatically. This is notably true for heart failure, drowning, traumas and respiratory issues. Lifesaving technologies such as an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), medication, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) aids can be designed compact enough to be carried by a drone.
When you have a serious health condition, it’s key to have your medication with you along with an easy way to alert your loved ones if you’re having a medical emergency. Health company Aterica developed a smart EpiPen case called the Veta that not only reminds you to take your medication with you every day, but also alerts your loved ones when it has been removed and used during an emergency. The idea is to give both those who are at risk for anaphylaxis, including many with food allergies, as well as their family and friends greater peace of mind and an easy way to keep track of their EpiPens.
American Heart Association (AHA) is now accepting grant applications specifically for cardiac arrest and resuscitation with deadlines starting July 26, 2016 and running through August 16, 2016. This is a tremendous opportunity to advance research in cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Grants range in amounts from $51,000 to $231,000 and will be awarded in two major science classifications:
Clinical Science and Population/Health Services
The knowledge that we learn and the skills that we practice in CPR class is not possible without the tremendous effort of many scientists and researchers out there. Head over to the American Hear Association web site to learn more about their cardiac arrest and resuscitation grants.