A nursing student encouraged Apple Watch wearers in a TikTok video to turn their notifications on after she learned that her own watch may have tracked the symptoms of her thyroid condition.
TikTok user @studyvlogloz, who goes by Lauren Rebecca online, first shared her diagnosis in a video that was viewed more than 117,000 times in late December 2021. In early February, she posted a video viewed nearly 40,000 times where she said that her Apple Watch was keeping track of her health information. Because she did not have her notifications on, she did not receive any updates. After looking at the health data that was tracked, Rebecca said she would have sought medical advice earlier.
Tracking health information is one of the features included with the Apple Watch. According to Apple’s website, the watch is meant to help the wearer meet sleep goals, track information related to the heart and check blood oxygen levels.
“If you have an Apple Watch you need to go and make sure all of these are turned on right now because I didn’t,” Rebecca said in her video pointing to her notifications settings. “A couple of weeks ago I got diagnosed with a thyroid condition. But, essentially, I had all these signs and symptoms which all say I’m sick, but I would’ve realized something was going on had my Apple Watch alerted me of changes.”
She showed a screen that displayed her health data dating back six months saying she could have gone to the doctor as soon as October when the symptoms were first shown. The data shown was her oxygen consumption, which dropped dramatically.
Rebecca said the data correlated with the timeframe that all of her other symptoms appeared, like an irregular heartbeat, fatigue and sensitivity to heat.
Rebecca said she went to the doctor for an ultrasound because she was experiencing a swollen lymph node. Rather than solely focusing on the lymph node, doctors focused on the thyroid. She was diagnosed with thyroid hemiagenesis—a rare congenital abnormality of the thyroid gland that is characterized by the absence of one lobe.
“As a result, my thyroid is getting really overworked and really tired, and it essentially stopped working,” she explained, adding that she will be taking medication that will replace the function of her thyroid.
“Don’t get me wrong, your Apple Watch is definitely not something you should follow as medical advice, but it can come in handy as a tool to prompt you to get things investigated further,” Rebecca said.
The Apple Watch offers the ability to track health information and the wearer may receive notifications. An individual can enable notifications from the Heart Rate app on certain watch series to alert them to high or low heart rates.
“The irregular heart rhythm notification feature on your Apple Watch will occasionally look at your heartbeat to check for an irregular rhythm that might be suggestive of atrial fibrillation,” a piece published by Apple stated.