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Apple Watch detects symptom of thyroid issue months ahead of diagnosis

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A nursing student in Australia is encouraging Apple Watch owners to enable heart rate notifications, after the wearable device detected symptoms of a thyroid condition months before being diagnosed.

Apple's heart rate notifications have helped numerous people detect issues with their heart, prompting them to go and seek further medical assistance. In a recent posting to TikTok, it's shown the wearable device can detect very early changes that could end up being diagnosed months later.

Posted on February 2, TikTok user Lauren encouraged viewers of her video to enable notifications for detecting low and high heart rates, irregular rhythms, and for cardio fitness levels. In the video, spotted by The Independent, the Sydney-based nursing student admitted that she should've enabled the features earlier than she did, as it had medical consequences.

In Lauren's explanation, she says she was diagnosed with a thyroid condition a few weeks previously. However, she admits "I would have realized something was going on if my Apple alerted me of changes."

"Instead of me waiting for the symptoms to get really bad, I could have gone to the doctor back in October, when there was this dramatic drop in a matter of days," Lauren adds, alongside a screenshot of a graph from the Health app. "It dramatically dropped, which means my cardiovascular system wasn't working as well as it once was."

The drop also correlated with other symptoms, including fatigue, a sensitivity to heat, gaining weight, dry skin, and increased irritability. In December, she was diagnosed with thyroid hemiagenesis, and is undergoing treatment.

Lauren admits the Apple Watch wasn't an item she considered as being a provider of health and medical advice normally, but it was still useful. "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."

"But on this occasion, I really wish that I had all the settings toggled on and noticed the changes and gone to the doctor sooner."

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 has an Always-on Retina display with nearly 20% more screen area than the Series 6 and the most crack-resistant front crystal yet on an Apple Watch.

Since its publication, the TikTok video has been viewed more than 351,000 times, and has been liked almost 2,500 times. Comments on the video were positive about the heart-related features of the Apple Watch, including for collecting heart rate data for use by doctors.