The Apple Watch as a Heart Gadget

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Dear Apple,


As a heart warrior and survivor, I rely on certain gadgets to help me track my health and progress. It may sound rather strange, but some technologies actually help me keep my anxiety at bay.

When I was released from the hospital, after my heart failure incident, j was desperate to monitor my heart rate (BPM) as I was afraid it would

a) not improve and

b) encounter a setback

Any device that would allow me to track BPM would be awesome – and safeguard my anxiety levels.

Experiencing a heart-related incident is scary and happens unfortunately too many Americans (and across the World). If technology providers can help improve monitoring and also be re- and proactive, then these providers could help large quantities of people struggling.

The first thing I wanted when being discharged was a device that could monitor my BPM.


Well, the heart is obviously a rather important organ, but besides that crucial detail, monitoring blood pressure and heart rate is one of the basic medical steps performed by the medical teams when assessing patients.

Patients are hooked up to devices while in the hospital to monitor those important measurements, and nurses use the EKG to also track the Healy of the heart.

heartmonitorWhen you are being disconnected from the 24/7 monitoring, the mind plays tricks on you trying to interpret body signals manually.

The slightest abnormality detected could send you into a downward spiral, and suddenly you are in need of medical attention. Not because you are relapsing, but because your mind thinks something is happening and then your body starts to freak out.

I had read about the Apple Watch 4, and it’s awesome capabilities for messing the heart rate, add some apps to monitor other vitals and of course the famous EKG features.

EKG feature was not released until December, which was very disappointing as that was one of the key features I wanted.

I wanted it.  It was a gadget that fulfilled my need to monitor my health.  And, Apple is a great company that has done a lot in recent years to help advance medical science by enabling their devices to assist.  So, it was an obvious choice, right?

Well, unfortunately, it had not been released to the public yet and was scheduled to be released a few weeks after my discharge.  Fear not, I preordered it and it was meant to arrive mid-October.

In the meantime, my wife bought me the Fitbit Versa, making sure I had some device from day 1 at home.

Ok, without boring the audience too much longer, let me provide some honest feedback about the Apple Watch 4.

It is an amazing device that connects to your iPhone seamlessly and will extend certain iPhone apps to your Watch.  It means you don’t need to reach for your iPhone when it buzzes, and you reduce the screentime 🙂

But, here are some major flaws in my humble opinion – not many but some;

Battery Life; absolutely dreadful compared to the competition.  With minimal usage and very few apps running, your Watch might be lucky to hold a charge for 12-16 hours.  At first, that might seem impressive, but let me share some further details

  • if you need to monitor your heart rate (BPM) actively, then it drains the battery
  • if you attempt to use the EKG functions 4-5 times a day, then battery suffers
  • depending on the Watch ‘face’ you select, it runs several apps in the background … and we are back to bullet one above – it drains quick

Battery Charging; if you let your battery run down below 20%, then charging it to 100% again will take several hours.  Being paranoid about my heart rate and other vitals, being without the Watch for several hours will increase my anxiety levels.

More Apps Needed; while the Watch comes with several nice apps, you still need to invest in several other apps to get full usage of the Watch and to better track your health.  Some apps cost money, while some are free.  But, using many apps to monitor your health and progress is not optimal.  It’s minor but would still suggest that apps consolidate better into a single dashboard.

  • I will be honest, many apps do connect to the Health app on the iPhone

Costly Investment; buying the Apple Watch is not cheap and will easily set you back $500.  And, if you want a nicer band, then it’s another $200-300.  Apple certainly knows what to charge for their products, and it can sometimes be justified.  But when you are in need of something to track your health, and just released from the hospital and facing multiple large bills, then investing in Apple products might not seem like a wise choice.

  • perhaps Apple could partner with Cardiology patients to use their products at a reduced rate, and the data collected could help them improve products even further.

Morale of the story

I bought the Apple Watch.  I wear it as long as it has battery life.  I’m delighted with the features and the integration of apps from iPhone to Watch.

BUT, I faithfully wear my Fitbit Versa on the other wrist.  At least for several more months as I  get more comfortable with the Apple Watch, and until I feel my body get even stronger.  Only then will I use the Apple Watch on its own.


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