Fitness trackers are helpful little gadgets for anyone looking to get in shape, but it turns out they may be more useful than we realize. As one woman in Connecticut found out recently, wearing a Fitbit could just save your life.
According to CNN, 73-year-old Patricia Lauder became concerned when she noticed her Fitbit was displaying an alarmingly high resting heart rate. She'd been in and out of the doctor's office while battling a sinus infection and was waiting on some test results, but decided to call 911 when her heart rate skyrocketed to over 100 beats per minute.
Because of the data her Fitbit had saved, Lauder knew that her normal resting heart rate was between 60 and 70 beats per minute, so seeing it display 140 beats per minute was very concerning.
"I just couldn't wait anymore. Something else had to be done, which is why I called the ambulance -- which turned out to be a good thing," Lauder told CNN.
It's a good thing she went to the hospital when she did. A scan revealed that Lauder's increase in heart rate was being caused by blood clots in both her lungs. The blockage caused her heart to work a lot harder to make up for the lower oxygen levels.
After looking at Lauder's CT scan, Dr. JuYong Lee, director of vascular and endovascular medicine at UConn Health Calhoun Cardiology Center, decided to apply clot-busting drugs directly into Lauder's blood clots through a catheter. Within 24 hours, the blood clots were gone and Lauder's heart and lung function had returned to normal.
"I think the Fitbit actually helped her decide whether or not this was a serious condition at that time," Dr. Lee said. "This condition is very critical, and she may have actually died if she had not sought medical attention."
Yikes! We're glad that Lauder is on the road to recovery. I guess FitBits have a higher purpose than just making you feel bad for not getting all your steps in. And hey, if your fitness tracker is displaying some wacky data, it may be a good idea to go get it checked out.