What is your Apple Watch trying to tell you about your health?

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These days Apple Watch detects far more than just your heart rate
Understanding these Apple Watch stats is key to unlocking its healthy potential.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you’ve been wearing an Apple Watch for a while now, chances are you have built up a huge amount of data related to your health. But do you know what it all means? What exactly is that wrist-mounted technological marvel trying to tell you?

All those different stats Apple Watch saves to the Health app can be a little overwhelming. But if you know how to interpret them, they provide a surprisingly wide variety of insights into your health. Like how fit you are, how much stress you are under and whether you are at risk of heart disease.

It’s worth taking the time to understand what your Apple Watch is telling you. It can help you improve your wellbeing — and it might even save your life.

Tiny attachment gives iPhone better ECG than Apple Watch

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KardiaMobile lets an iPhone detect three types of heart problems.
KardiaMobile lets an iPhone detect three types of heart problems.
Photo: AliveCor

AliveCor‘s KardiaMobile has been cleared by the FDA to detect the three most common heart arrhythmias. It’s the only personal ECG cleared to do so.

That puts this pocket-size phone accessory well ahead of the Apple Watch, which can only detect one type of heart problem.

Apple Watch’s heart-reading tech may have saved another life

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Apple Watch Series 4 redesigned heart-rate monitor
Apple Watch's heart monitoring tech has helped another person.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch’s EKG heart rate monitor has possibly saved the life of yet another person.

According to a new report, the Apple Watch belonging to a man in Bothell, Washington was used to diagnose atrial fibrillation. Sometimes shortened to “a-fib” or “AF,” this refers to an irregular, fast heartbeat. It even won over skeptical medics in the process.

Apple‘s Heart Month incentives keep your ticker healthy

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heart health Apple
Celebrity fitness trainer Jeanette Jenkins co-created a Today at Apple session to bolster heart health.
Photo: Apple

Today is the first day of Heart Month, and Apple is going all in with a special Apple Watch activity challenge and health education sessions at Apple Stores in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

Apple did not wait for February to help customers understand the health of their hearts. Last fall, the tech giant showcased the Apple Watch Series 4 with an electrocardiogram feature that some customers say alerted them to life-threatening heart conditions such as AFib.

Apple Watch ECG saves NH man from serious heart problem

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Apple health care
The electrocardiogram built into his Apple Watch 4 was the best gift a NH man received last year.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

A Christmas gift may have saved a New Hampshire man’s life. The ECG built into Barry Maden’s new Apple Watch 4 detected a heart problem.

A problem severe enough that the treatment included stopping his heart.

Withings Move offers ECGs anytime for a lot less than Apple Watch

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CES 2019 bugApple Watch Series 4 isn’t the only wearable that offers on-demand electrocardiograms (ECGs) anymore.

Withings’ new Move ECG is the first analog watch that delivers the same functionality — and for a lot less. It takes less than 30 seconds, can help detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), and syncs all the data to your phone so that you can share it with your doctor.

Apple Watch ECG already finding stealth heart problems

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Apple health care
Using the ECG on Apple Watch Series 4 is dead easy.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Ed Dentel has become the poster child for the new ECG function of the Apple Watch. He installed the recent update that allowed this wearable to check the electrical activity of his heart and it immediately told him he had a problem.

At first he thought the new technology was faulty. Instead, the fault was his heart.

How (and when) to use Apple Watch ECG feature

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Apple health care
The ECG feature on Apple Watch Series 4.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

watchOS 5.1.2 launched to the public this morning and finally activated the ECG feature on Apple Watch Series 4.

For now, the ECG app can only be used in the US and US territories, but it gives wearers the ability to take an electrocardiogram to see whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation. Using the ECG only takes about 30 seconds and it could save your life.

Here’s how to master the ECG: