Learn about wearables and how digital healthcare can benefit those with multiple sclerosis.
I never thought I’d want a wearable internet device until I got an Apple Watch for my birthday. One of its neat apps tracks the laps that I swim, the steps that I (try to) take, and my pulse rate. The watch can even link up with some high-tech exercise equipment to monitor my gym progress.
A brand new version of the Apple Watch (the Series 4) came out just after I got mine and it has a new feature; one which many of us with MS might find particularly useful. It’s an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” alert. The watch contains an accelerometer and a gyroscope. By analyzing your falling speed and the angle at which you tumble, the watch can determine whether you’ve taken a hard fall or whether you’ve just stumbled. If it senses that you’ve fallen, it displays an alert saying, “It looks like you’ve taken a hard fall.” Then you have a choice: If you’re OK, you can cancel the alert. If you’re not OK, you can tap the face of the watch, initiating a call to an emergency number and family. If your tumble was really bad and you’re unable to trigger the emergency signal yourself, the watch will do it automatically if you haven’t moved for 60 seconds.
The Apple Watch 4 can also display an electrocardiogram (EKG) tracing of your heart. Just hold your finger on the crown of the watch for 30 seconds while the back of the watch contacts your wrist. The EKG recording is stored on your phone and then played back so your doctor can read it on your next visit. The EKG, however, is only a single “lead.” An EKG in a doctor’s office is usually 10 or 12 leads. An Apple Watch EKG is not something on which I’d place much diagnostic faith, but it’s probably an indication of things to come.
|Read on: Multiple Sclerosis and How Wearables Focus on Tracking Your Health|