Heart Patients Warned Against Wearing a Fitbit

Researchers are warning heart patients not to wear Fitbit devices because they do more harm than good. Owners of Fitbits become more in tune with their health, but suffer guilty and anxiety when they miss exercise targets or misinterpret data. They may link a fast pulse with an increased risk of heart attack or fear that a lower than normal amount of sleep will exacerbate their illness. Dr. Tariq Osman Andersen says that patients often use the information from their Fitbits just like they would use a doctor, but they don’t get help interpreting their watch data. That results in unnecessary angst and puts the patient at risk. "The problem is you cannot use data directly related to heart disease because the watch is designed for sports and wellness, as opposed to managing disease,” said Andersen. Researchers said fitness watches and their accompanying apps can be beneficial to heart patients only if used in partnership with healthcare professionals to limit unwanted side effects.