Apple Watch may have flagged thyroid problem, nursing students say

Apple Watch

A nursing student encouraged Apple Watch wearers in a TikTok video to turn on their notifications after learning her own watch may have been tracking symptoms of her thyroid condition.

TikTok user @studyvlogloz, who goes by Lauren Rebecca online, first shared his diagnosis in a video which was viewed more than 117,000 times at the end of December 2021. At the beginning of February, she posted a video viewed nearly 40,000 times where she said her Apple Watch keeps track of her health information. Since she hadn’t turned on her notifications, she didn’t receive any updates. After reviewing the health data that was tracked, Rebecca said she would have sought medical advice sooner.

Health information tracking is one of the features included with the Apple Watch. According to Apple’s websitethe watch is intended to help the wearer achieve sleep goals, track heart information, and check blood oxygen levels.

A woman shared a TikTok video and said her Apple Watch may have tracked symptoms associated with her thyroid condition. Above, Apple’s Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch in September 2019.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“If you have an Apple Watch, you need to make sure you have all of that turned on right now because I haven’t,” Rebecca said in her video pointing to her notification settings. “A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. But, basically, I had all these signs and symptoms that all say I’m sick, but I would have realized something was up if my Apple Watch had alerted me to changes.”

She showed a screen that showed her six-month-old health data saying she could have gone to the doctor as early as October when the first symptoms appeared. The data presented was his oxygen consumption, which dropped dramatically.

Rebecca said the data correlated with how long it took for all of her other symptoms to appear, such as irregular heartbeat, fatigue and heat sensitivity.

In her video that she shared in December, Rebecca said she went to the doctor for an ultrasound because she was suffering from a swollen lymph node. Rather than just focusing on the lymph node, doctors focused on the thyroid. He was diagnosed with thyroid hemiogenesis, a rare birth defect of the thyroid gland characterized by the absence of a lobe.

“As a result, my thyroid is getting really overworked and really tired, and it’s basically stopped working,” she explained, adding that she’ll be on medication that will replace her thyroid function.

“Don’t get me wrong, your Apple Watch is definitely not something you should follow as medical advice, but it can be useful as a tool to nudge you into digging deeper,” Rebecca said.

The Apple Watch offers the ability to track health information and the wearer can receive notifications. A person can enable Heart Rate app notifications on certain series of watches to alert them to high or low heart rates.

“The Irregular Heartbeat Notification feature on your Apple Watch will occasionally examine your heartbeat for an irregular rhythm that may suggest atrial fibrillation,” an article published by Apple said.

Commenters were interested in learning more about the feature, with one saying it was helpful for their own condition they live in.

“My Apple Watch saves my life as someone with heart disease, literally monitors my heart all day and gives me peace of mind,” @annabelle_russell commented.

Looking back on her experience, Rebecca echoed her thoughts for Newsweek that individuals should not rely too much on technology for their health care decisions.

“As an aspiring medical student and current nursing student, I am very cautious that abundant access to technology can catastrophize symptoms by making people assume the worst,” she said. . “But on this occasion, I really wish I had all the settings turned on, noticed the changes and gone to the doctor sooner.”