Health Tracker Apps Help With Heart Health

New research finds that a smartphone app is successful in tracking a patient’s physical activity and learning and helping to examine cardiovascular health.

“Traditional research on physical activity and cardiovascular health has been based on people writing down what they remembered doing,” Lead researcher Michael V. McConnell, MD, of Stanford University said in a news release. “Mobile devices let us measure more directly people’s activity patterns throughout the day.”

In 2015, Apple launched ResearchKit which is an open-source framework that helps researchers collect data and Stanford’s MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular app, was included in the framework from March to October.

For the study, nearly 49,000 adults downloaded the app from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The median age for all participants was 42 and more than 82 percent of the participants were male, according to the report.

The researchers found that clusters of activity levels were significantly correlated with self-reported cardiovascular health. Participants who had the least activity had an elevated risk for chest pain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and joint pain.

MyHeart also found that the average hours of sleep a person got was 7.8 hours a night, noting that women slept an extra 0.3 hours.

The overrepresentation of men and the fact that people don’t carry their phones everywhere at all times were some of the limitations involved in the study.

“To realize the promise of this novel approach to population health research, participant engagement needs to be optimized to maximize full participation of those who have expressed at least enough interest to download the app and consent to join the study,” the researchers wrote.

Sourced from JAMA.