Fitbit is fighting the good fight, having been involved for a while now in research that could detect viral infections, with the hope of becoming a COVID-19 wearable detector someday. A recent study has increased those chances as it showed, based on Fitbit data, how COVID-19 patients have had lingering health issues caused or that appeared after surviving the virus.
The study found that COVID-19 survivors had an elevated heart rate for months after getting better from the virus. Last year, in March, the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California started a study to see whether wearable health data – especially that provided by Fitbit devices – could predict the emergence of COVID-19. Based on that data, a new study revealed what happened to the users after contracting and defeating the disease.
According to the published findings, it seems that quickly after the symptoms appeared there was a short drop in the resting heart rate only to pick up afterward. Of course, those ill slept less before the diagnosis and performed less physical activity.
What was interesting is that the users had difficulty returning to their normal, healthy state after going through all of this. Specifically, the majority needed 79 days for their heart rate to decrease, 32 days to go back to their normal physical activities and 24 days for their sleep quality to improve. Plus, 13.7% of the users continued to have an elevated rate way beyond those 2 months; it took 4 to 5 months for them to recover from the ordeal.
“Lots of people who get covid end up getting autonomic dysfunction and a kind of ongoing inflammation, and this may adversely affect their body’s ability to regulate their pulse,” lead author Jennifer Radin told the New York Times.
What makes this study incredibly important and revealing is the fact that the findings can be associated with COVID-19 and no other underlying respiratory problems, as the researchers were careful to distinguish between the two.