Imagine a health watch that can identify the smallest deviations in your heartbeat and correlate them with your other vital signs, alerting a doctor at the first sign that something might be wrong. That is what MAP Health Watcher aims to do – Measure vital signs around the clock with the MAP Health Watch, Analyze the results using powerful algorithms and artificial intelligence, and help Prevent disease by alerting a physician in good time.
The potential to save lives is huge.
Heart disease accounts for a staggering 1 in 4 deaths in the United States every year, while worldwide more people die from cardiovascular disease (heart problems and blockages of the blood flow) than anything else according to the World Health Organization. Of the 17 million premature deaths (usually defined as any death occurring before the average life expectancy of the population) due to non-communicable diseases in 2015, 37% are caused by cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular disease can strike suddenly and fatally as a heart attack or stroke. Another frequent cause is cardiac arrest resulting from a failure of the electrical wiring of the heart. In either case, it is rarely the first notable incident that kills, and lasting damage can be prevented if medical assistance is provided within a few hours. But in order to be able to treat at-risk patients and respond quickly enough to save lives, doctors would need to be able to have their fingers on the pulses of their patients at all times.
The more you and your doctor know about your heart, the better your chances of survival.
The twin threats to your heart
There is some degree of confusion about the dangers that threaten the functioning of our hearts. Although they are often used synonymously, heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests are actually two different types of heart failure.
A heart attack, otherwise known as a myocardial infarction, is when a blockage to an artery restricts blood flow to the heart and the heart fails to receive enough oxygen to continue to function properly. If the artery is not unblocked quickly enough, the part of the heart supplied with oxygen from that artery will begin to die, a process known as ‘necrosis’. This dying of the muscle tissue is irreversible and, depending on the amount of tissue affected, can lead to a serious weakening of the heart.
Heart attacks generally occur as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease, when a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply the heart. This build up takes place over many years, and eventually an area of the plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form on the plaque’s surface. If this clot is too large, it can partially or completely block the blood flow to the heart, and requires immediate treatment. Heart attacks can also be caused by a severe muscular spasm that cuts off blood flow through the artery, though this is much less common.
A cardiac arrest, on the other hand, results from an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. The heart is driven by electrical pulses to the various areas of muscle tissue responsible for pumping blood through the lungs and around the body. These electrical pulses follow a set pattern that can reveal much about a patient’s health when plotted on a chart.
Cardiac arrest is typically caused by an abnormal or irregular heart rhythm, otherwise known as arrhythmia. One common arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation, which occurs when the heart’s lower chambers suddenly start beating chaotically and don’t pump blood. If the patient does not receive immediate medical attention, they die within minutes.
A race against time
It is clear that the two conditions have one very important thing in common. They can strike suddenly and leave the patient dead in a matter of hours if not treated quickly. Once they have reached a certain point, serious heart problems are incredibly difficult to treat effectively – the survival rate for cardiac arrests occurring outside of the hospital in the US is just 10%. That is why it is imperative for everyone to be able to recognize the first signs of heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest and take the necessary steps to reduce the risks before it is too late.
Know the first signs
There are a number of first signs of a cardiac event that everyone should know about – after all, it could save your life, or that of a loved one. Even if the symptoms are very mild and you make what you think is a full recovery, it is essential to alert your doctor and get a thorough check-up as this could be a precursor to a more serious and possibly fatal incident.
If the worst should happen and you or your loved ones suffer a heart attack or cardiac arrest, how you react in the first few minutes is very often the difference between life and death. 47% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside of hospital, meaning that many people fail to act on the early warning signs. Fast treatment is also essential for heart attacks, with treatment in the first two hours after the beginning of the attack greatly increasing your chances of survival. So what do you need to look out for
Even if people do know the symptoms, one of the major problems when they are suffering from a heart attack is that they are often unwilling to call for help, as they are afraid of complaining needlessly or ‘making a scene’ in public. We all sweat from time to time, shortness of breath after going up the stairs is perfectly normal, and light-headedness can come and go. It is incredibly difficult to recognize the first signs of heart disease, and often even harder to act on them. Many of us, particularly men, are prone to talking down the symptoms in the hope that the problem will go away. It won’t.
There are certain factors that make it more likely that someone will suffer from some kind of heart disease and put them at greater risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac death:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight or obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol abuse
- Family history
With the obvious exception of family history, most of these are factors are under our control, so it is imperative that we know the risks and act accordingly to mitigate them. Most of us are aware that changing our lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercising more regularly, drinking and smoking less, improving our diet and reducing stress all make it less likely that you will suffer from heart disease.
However, the hidden nature of heart disease means that many of us are not always aware of a developing problem. The dangers of serious heart disease also depend greatly on the individual, with genetics also an important factor, so these risk factors can carry different weight for different people.
Stories of young, seemingly fit people like the English footballer Fabrice Muamba and American basketball player Reggie Lewis are a stark illustration of the fact that heart problems can strike anyone at any age, particularly those related to arrhythmia.
Treatments are available
As many of us know, there is a range of medication available to combat heart disease. Drugs can help reduce your heart’s workload, decrease your chance of having a heart attack, lower cholesterol and reduce blood clotting. If the problem is more serious, there is also a range of procedural and surgical interventions available, extending from angioplasty, which opens constricted arteries, to heart bypass surgery, which creates a new pathway to the heart. Many people are also fitted with pacemakers, which send electrical impulses to the heart to keep up a suitable heart rate and rhythm.
Get the first signs and act
In order to know the appropriate action to take to mitigate the risks, both you and your doctor need to be aware of exactly what the problem is. To make an informed decision, your doctor will need timely and accurate information. The body is a complex system, and the more data we can have on it, the easier it is to know if we should take any action, when and how.
If you take a trip to the doctor for your annual check-up, the chances are that he or she will measure your blood pressure and check for other signs of heart disease, often comparing your information to clinical data they have on hand. While this kind of assessment can be invaluable in identifying and treating health problems, it does have its limitations. Most measurements tend to vary over time, so it is much more accurate to make an assessment of a particular parameter over a longer period – you don’t want to prescribe someone medication just because they happened to have had a stressful day at the office before visiting the doctor, for example. What is more, it is always better to view the data in the context of that person’s medical history and in relation to other factors.
Unfortunately for doctors, that level of data on patients simply hasn’t been available. That is about to change thanks to a remarkable health watch containing five sensors.
Introducing the MAP Health Watch
The MAP Health Watch has been developed with these issues in mind. Data is set to revolutionize 21st century medicine, and MAP Health Watcher intends to be at the forefront of that revolution. The MAP Health Watch can provide you and your doctor with valuable data that gives you an overall picture of your health over the long-term, and is particularly adept at detecting problems related to heart disease. How?
With the use of medical-grade sensors inserted into a smartwatch, MAP is able to track six special health-related indicators that decades of medical research and experience have shown to serve as vital signs of the overall health of your body. Three of these help to give a clear picture of the condition of your heart:
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the key risk factors in heart disease, and is a warning sign that should not go unheeded. The MAP Health Watch constantly assesses your blood pressure levels, and provides you and your doctor with relevant data over a long period at time, covering periods of stress and relaxation, rest and physical exercise, giving you a clear overview of whether you are in danger or not. If there is a change, be it sudden or gradual, MAP will let you know about it and our medical team will provide you with professional advice on how to try to remedy the situation through changes in diet and exercise or immediate medical attention.
ECG stands for electrocardiogram, a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. Through a series of sophisticated algorithms, the MAP Health Watch is able to produce accurate ECG readings without needing to hook the patient up to a series of electrodes. Although not as comprehensive as the ECG you receive in the clinic, the device is able to flag up many types of unusual electrical activity in your heart, and particularly changes over time, which can be invaluable in picking up the first signs of arrhythmia.
Heart rate variability (HRV)
Heart rate variability is the variation in the time intervals between heartbeats. By monitoring your HRV, the MAP Health Watch is not only able to assess your risk of having a heart attack, it is can also provide rich information on your stress levels and general fitness – key heart disease risk factors.
A solution that aspires to save lives
MAP Health Watch has been created and developed by a visionary team of doctors and medical professionals who have realized that by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and combining it with expert medical advice, we can save and transform lives across the globe.
First, our medical team will record your medical history and set up your MAP Watch according to your customized medical profile, taking into account any known risk factors. Every single piece of data collected by the device is fed into a system that analyzes it in real time through complex algorithms based on established medical science. This information can be assessed by one of our doctors, who will be able to give you medical and lifestyle advice to keep or regain your health, while you can also receive a regular report so you can keep up to date yourself or pass the information on to your local care provider.
This is a revolutionary idea that has the potential to transform health care. We believe that MAP Health Watch has the potential to save lives, it will also help people to make the right decisions about their health and appreciate the long-term value of looking after themselves.
At the moment, we have a working prototype of the device, but in order to go in production we are looking for funding through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. If you are interested in the idea, think it might be useful for yourself or someone you know, or simply want to know more, click on the link below to sign up to our newsletter and receive information on the upcoming campaign.