Apple Watch users can now use the wearable device’s heart rate monitor to monitor their response to symptoms of infectionsuch d’Otoma, such as COVID-19 or flu, thanks to a new feature of the heart health app Cardiogram, according tomedia outlet AppleInsider.
Cardiogram is known for its close watchOS and HealthKit integration, and has been involved in a handful of studies such as health eHeart Study at the University of California and San Francisco. Now, Cardiogram developers want their application-generated data to work during the new corona virus pandemic.
When resisting infections such as COVID-19, the body’s resting and sleeping heart rate can vary greatly. Starting Thursday, Cardiogram will introduce a new feature that will allow users to easily detect and track these heart rate differences using the Apple Watch, giving them more data to monitor their condition.
“Cardiogram’s new sleep BPM feature helps users better understand their bodies’ responses to flu symptoms or other diseases, including COVID-19,” said Johnson Hsieh, co-founder of Cardiogram. “When you get sick, cells in the immune system release small proteins called hetamines, which cause inflammation and blood vessel dilates. This process sends signals to people’s brains to increase heart rhythm and the amount of blood sent to inflamed areas.
Hsieh says this type of heart rate increase during infection or fever is most noticeable during sleep. As a result, the new features can provide some insight into the user’s body’s response to disease. The team cautions that sleep BPM is not intended to diagnose influenza or COVID-19 and should not replace medical diagnostic tests and tools. There are also unrelated conditions or routine events that can cause the heart rate to accelerate.
“Instead, we’re providing users with other tools to better understand how flu-like symptoms can affect their bodies through their heart rate patterns,” Hsieh said. “
Cardiogram says its capabilities are unique because it integrates with other data to help users correlate and interpret data. Many Cardiogram users also suffer from heart disease, putting them at high risk of serious complications from viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.
Of course, the feature will require users to wear the Apple Watch or other compatible heart monitoring accessories while they sleep. This may shorten the time it takes users to charge their wearable devices, but it may still be useful for those who are socializing or are already sick. The Sleep BPM feature is a free upgrade to the Cardiogram app and is free to use. For users who want to remotely monitor loved ones or export data to a doctor, the app also offers premium memberships for $25 per year.