TECH BYTE: FitBit
(41NBC/WMGT) — Many people are getting devices they can wear to track their steps each day, but some of these devices can even track your heartbeat, to make sure it’s healthy. Let’s look at how the Fitbit is doing that.
Fitbit wants to take tracking both your steps and heart health to the next level. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the consumer electronic company’s new PPG algorithm. This new feature is another way a Fitbit device can identify atrial fibrillation or AFib. Fitbit says more than 33 million people have AFib, which means they have an irregular heartbeat, and they often don’t know they have it and there are often no symptoms. This PPG feature can assess your heart rhythm while you’re still or asleep. If it detects possible AFib, it’ll notify you, so you can then reach out to your doctor. PPG also lets you keep track of your heart rhythm long-term – especially if you can’t tell if you have an irregular heartbeat.
Fitbit devices already have a downloadable feature available – the ECG app – that works as a spot-check approach for AFib. You use it to screen your heartbeat, and record an ECG trace that you can review with a doctor. If you don’t have the ECG feature on your Fitbit yet, there are instructions on how to set it up on fitbit.com. The company says the new PPG feature will soon be available across a range of its devices.
The Apple Watch can also help people see if they have an irregular heartbeat, so you have several different devices to choose from if you’re looking to keep an eye on your heart health.