Fitness Trackers Reveal COVID’s Long-Term Effects

THURSDAY, July 8, 2021 (Healthday News) – Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbits or the Apple Watch may help track people’s recovery from COVID-19 and reveal how long-term that recovery is, new study finds .

It was conducted from late March 2020 to late January 2021 and included 875 people wearing Fitbit, 234 of whom tested positive for COVID-19.

Data from the wearable devices showed that people who tested positive for COVID-19 had behavioral and physiological symptoms, including an increased heart rate, which could persist for weeks or months, The New York Times reported.

These symptoms lasted longer in people with COVID-19 than in those with other respiratory illnesses, according to researchers at the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California.

It took 79 days, on average, for their resting heart rate to return to normal, compared to just four days for people in the non-COVID group.

This may be a sign that COVID-19 is disrupting the autonomic nervous system, which regulates basic physiological processes. The heart palpitations and dizziness reported by many people with COVID may be symptoms of this disturbance, the researchers said.

“Many people who contract COVID end up suffering from autonomic dysfunction and some kind of continuous inflammation, which can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate their pulse,” said Jennifer Radin, epidemiologist at Scripps who led the trial. Time.

“We kind of want to better collect long-term symptoms so that we can compare the physiological changes we see with the symptoms that participants actually experience,” Radin said. “So this is really a preliminary study that opens up many other studies on the road.”

The study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA network open.

“It was an interesting study, and I think it’s important,” said Dr. Robert Hirten, gastroenterologist and wearable expert at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Time. “Wearable devices give us the ability to monitor people discreetly over long periods of time to see objectively – how has the virus really affected them?

Hirten did not participate in the study.

Several previous studies have suggested that wearable fitness trackers – which can collect data on heart rate, body temperature, physical activity, and other health information – can also help detect early signs of COVID – 19, the Time reported.

About 1 in 5 Americans use such devices.

More information

Visit Johns Hopkins Medicine to learn more about smartwatches and health.

SOURCE: The New York Times

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