Is the future of heart disease about to change?

If you believe the keynote speeches at the annual Apple Special Event from the stunning purpose built Steve Jobs Theatre on Apple Park.

The newly announced Apple Watch 3, hard to believe a version 3 has already arrived, it seems so recent in time that the original Apple Watch was launched, will provide more detailed feedback on the way the wearers heart is beating. Currently the watch and software allow for a reading to be taken of the heart rate as a snapshot in time. This is very useful and allows the wearer to manage their heart rate and rest if it is getting too high. Wouldn’t it be useful though if the technology could track your heart rate after a workout, measuring how long it takes for the rate to return to normal? This time is often seen as a measure of fitness, the less time the fitter you are. What about measuring the rate throughout the day, including resting, walking, working out or recovering?

Well wait and wonder no more, Apple Watch 3 will do all that for you. Being able to monitor your heart rate all day and night, will provide a multitude of data and could in time help identify sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation (which is often a precursor to strokes and other heart issues. If this watch can detect variations in heart rates that cannot be explained by activity, then this could be a game changer and give people an early warning, and get to a doctor for a check. Additionally all the data can be shown to the doctor so they have evidence to make better decisions.

So that is all good news. No down sides at all. Or are there? One immediately springs to mind, although it has to be balanced. Are the doctors, already struggling to deliver the services expected, going to be inundated with apple watch users turning up staying they have bad heart beats and fear the onset of a stroke. I am sure for the most part the doctors would welcome the care their patients are taking of themselves. However there has to be a consideration for the medical dictionary syndrome and hypochondria. You know the scenario someone mentions you might have a illness or condition and it gnaws away in your mind, you notice how your symptoms fit the condition and you convince yourself you have it. Your symptoms are real, but they could also fit any number of other conditions, which is where the doctors expertise comes in, they can filter out those conditions and leave you with a balanced diagnosis. In the days before the internet, medical dictionaries were misused by people convinced they had illnesses they didn’t have. This is even more prevalent with the internet. In a small number of cases the assumptions made by the patient from self diagnosis can be correct and it is these instances that make it important to check out all possible occurrences by professional.

So doctors will undoubtedly see more patients concerned about their heart information and most people will be fine. There will be a few where the information is urgent and care required, and for that reason this technological advance must be welcomed.