An Apple Watch alert with lifesaving impact

An advocate for women’s health, access to care, and quality of care, Megan Buchholz is no stranger to the symptoms and the preventative measures adults should be aware of to live heart-healthy lives. She created the “Moms Matter” initiative, a program unique to Hampton Roads, providing home-based follow-up assistance and care for moms discharged from the hospital on hypertension medications prescribed by a medical professional. Due to the success of her launch, Buchholz was selected to participate in the Hampton Roads Go Red for Women Campaign as a 2022 Woman of Impact Nominee.

During the 9-week fundraising initiative, Buchholz’s Apple Watch flashed the notification “Apple Watch identified an irregular heart rhythm that may be AFib and confirmed it with multiple readings.” Shocked and confused, she ignored the initial atrial fibrillation (AFib) notification. It wasn’t until hours later that the Apple Watch repeated the alert for a third time, prompting her to act and go to the heart hospital. One overnight stay later, the Apple Watch alert was completely accurate; Buchholz was in AFib with a heart rate of 176.

According to the American Heart Association, AFib is an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

“If I hadn’t gone to be checked out, there’s a great possibility I could’ve had a stroke. I’m grateful for my watch, and I don’t ever take it off except to charge it, then it goes back on my wrist. I’m paying attention to what I’m eating, trying to move more, and doing what I can to be healthy, especially because I didn’t experience many symptoms,” expressed Buchholz.

During her hospital stay, Buchholz continued to fundraise for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, Woman of Impact Campaign, crediting her enthusiasm as a “competitive spirit for a purpose.” A short week later, on World Health Day, during the Hampton Roads Go Red festivities, Buchholz was named the 2022 Woman of Impact winner, having raised over $20,000 during the 9-week initiative to help women in Hampton Roads live a healthier lifestyle.

Individuals with advanced age, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, underlying heart conditions, and athletes are at increased risk for AFib. Treatment, prevention, and risk factors begin with a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider.