Some in the AF community think that self-monitoring is a dangerous thing, that use of devices such as a Kardia cause anxiety rather than reassure. I have always considered that data is valuable, and I know that my recorded cycling data helped in my treatment after diagnosis. I have continued to keep a wealth of data and have added a weekly (or so) blood pressure test.
On Wednesday 18th of December I sat down to take my BP, expecting it to have returned to normal after the recent high level tested at the cardiologists. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, the first reading I took was 140/110. I tried my Kardia, and recorded a load of ectopics, the worst I had seen in years. At the end of the 30 seconds I was given the diagnosis of “Possible AF”. I tried several times further throughout the day and had a couple more AF readings, a few “Unclassified” and then a “Normal” in the afternoon.
The next day I woke with a small pain in my shoulder, but had several reassuring “Normal” readings throughout the day from the Kardia. We went out that night to a comedy show with friends, but returned home early as I had to go to London for work in the morning.
The trip to work was uneventful and as traffic free as possible, 180 miles and a Dartford crossing in less than three and a half hours; leaving home at 5:30 a.m. had a lot to do with this. I still had a small pain in my shoulder, but everything seemed fine. I left at 1:00 p.m. to find a lot more traffic than earlier. My 12 mile trip back to the crossing took two and a quarter hours, and my stomach was starting to feel unsettled. A further three hours later I was approaching home, but with terrible pain across my chest. Thanks to my previous experience and my Kardia, I knew that this was acid reflux and not a heart attack.
I arrived home feeling terrible, I got very little sleep that night and still had pain on Saturday. I knew of several people who had recently experienced similar pains and had been diagnosed with a virus. I had improved by Sunday evening and was able to work on Monday.
I am now much more perky and practically healthy again. Kardia readings are all “Normal” again, BP is lowered although not quite to usual levels and the pain in my shoulder has practically gone. Without the Kardia and self-knowledge, I think I would have spent a night in the hospital under observation.