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Nursing student says an Apple Watch notification helped detect a rare abnormality – Here’s how to enable it

Apple’s technology is often credited for saving people’s lives. An elderly New Jersey resident, for example, hit her head earlier this year while no one else was around. Unable to move, she dialed 911 through her Apple AirPods and Siri.

In a 2019 incident, a hiker fell off a cliff while wearing an Apple Watch. The device registered the sudden elevation and vertical speed change and assumed that the hiker had fallen. Emergency services swiftly arrived at his location thanks to the Hard Fall feature.

The Apple Watch just came through again, this time for a nursing student. Read on to learn how the watch helped detect a rare abnormality and how you can switch this warning on, too.

The warning signs

Australian nursing student Lauren Rebecca took to TikTok to share her story. She says her Apple Watch began recording irregular heart rhythms and low oxygen levels. Soon after, she started experiencing other symptoms, including fatigue, heat sensitivity and weight gain.

Armed with info from her Apple Watch, she sought medical care. She was eventually diagnosed with a rare thyroid gland abnormality called thyroid hemiagenesis.

While she credits her Apple Watch for initially picking up on the first signs, Lauren stresses that you should seek professional help if you suspect something is going on. “Don’t get me wrong, your Apple Watch is definitely not something you should follow as medical advice, but it can come in handy, I guess, as a tool to prompt you to go get things investigated further,” she explains in the video.

Her only regret? That she didn’t turn on all the health features that are available in the Apple Watch. “On this occasion, I really wish that I had all the settings toggled on and noticed the changes and gone to the doctor sooner.”

Enable these health features now

Sure, your Apple Watch is great for checking messages and telling you the time, but it can also save your life. The first thing you need to do is set up the Health App so that your device knows your medical history.

Here’s how to access it on your iPhone:

  • Open the Health app.
  • Select your profile picture in the top right hand corner.
  • Click on Health Details.
  • Enter your information.

Once you’ve entered your information on the Health app, you can head to your Apple Watch to get started. Here are the features we recommend turning on.

  • Apple’s Medical ID keeps all your vital records and can be accessed by anyone in case of an emergency. First responders can see your information by holding down the power button and volume down.
  • Set up alerts for blood oxygen levels. Regular levels fall between 95 and 100, but reach out to a doctor if you notice consistently low levels. You can access this setting through the Health app by tapping on the Browse tab, then tap Respiratory Blood Oxygen > Set up Blood Oxygen.
  • The Fall Detection feature could save your life. If there’s a sudden and severe change in your movement (indicating a fall), your watch will automatically contact emergency service. To enable this, swiping down on your Apple Watch screen, select Emergency SOS and toggle on Fall Detection.
  • Under Notifications, you can choose to get alerts for a low or high heart rate or irregular rhythms. There are also options for when your cardio fitness level is too low, or the headphones volume is too high.
  • Tap or click here to explore other health featrures and how to turn them on.

Keep reading

Apple Watch heart rate data could help solve a murder

Kim’s Take: Apple Watch can tell if you’re having a heart attack

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