Tom Edwards, pictured, is a 29-year-old airline mechanic in Lincolnshire, UK who previously worked as a stone mason and a painter. He says that he enjoys what he does because he meets a lot of people and it’s hands-on work.
Indeed he has very talented hands—when not working Tom enjoys photography, adventures in a customized camper van that he started converting during the pandemic, and goldsmithing—more on that later.
Health was not at the heart of a purchase
Tom was a longtime Withings smart scale user, which he said he likes because “it’s just easy to use. A lot of them, you have to have your phone with your Bluetooth turned on. The battery in there lasts like a year and it syncs over Wi-Fi.”
So in January 2021 when he saw an ad “pop up” for the ScanWatch, he went for it, joking, “your advertising works!”
Mostly, he wanted the watch to track sleep and his steps, and the long battery life appealed to him because he didn’t want to be charging it all the time. He also just liked the design, and because he has a very active lifestyle, he knew he wanted the durability of sapphire glass.
Although ScanWatch proudly offers an ECG capability to detect AFib as well as on-demand SpO2, these features weren’t of interest to him. As a young guy with no health problems that he was concerned about, Tom told us that he did not care about the medical metrics at all. He also admitted that he is someone who really doesn’t like to go to the doctor, as he’s prone to being “a tough guy who will just suffer” and/or “try to figure things out himself.”
And so, when he started wearing his ScanWatch and got an AFib alert, he wondered if the watch was malfunctioning. We asked him to to describe those first alerts in his words:
“I think I had the ScanWatch for two or three weeks and that’s when I got the first AFib alert and I was just chatting and my watch was buzzing I thought, ‘what’s that?’ And then it comes in big cap letters, AFIB DETECTED and the watch is telling me to carry out an ECG… but I never bothered doing it because I was more thinking, ‘what is going on?’ I look at the app and it says, ‘go to the doctor if it’s regular’ but — I just ignore it. And then I think I got another alert after that, and well, that was when I was getting frustrated…but that time I did feel like a skip in my chest, like, a flutter, but I got them normally… I wondered, is it just a false positive or is it just over-sensitive picking up a blip or something?”
The watch, the girlfriend and the internet
His girlfriend told him to see the doctor because of the alerts, and perhaps, because there was a history of heart issues in her family. And then Tom put the question to the Reddit community. People on Reddit told him he should not ignore it. One said, “If it does it more than once I would get it checked out. I’ve never had a positive.” Another user said, “The Withings algo is pretty good…go see a doctor.” and yet another said, “You may as well get it checked out—presumably this feature is partly why you bought the watch. Good luck.”
As time went on, Tom was starting to feel, in his words, “rubbish.” He was very tired, so he tested himself for Covid, but was negative. Even though he was not feeling well, he was worried about bothering the doctor about what his watch was telling him.
But one day after work an alert from his watch made him take notice:
“One time… I got home after work in the afternoon and I felt terrible. I sat on the sofa and then I ended up falling asleep for about three hours, and I woke up and my face was like a pale gray color. I felt really drained and and just like no energy at all and… at the time I was thinking maybe it’s like bad sleep which is why I’m tired all the time or whatever? And yeah, I looked at the app and because it was most recent, it said ‘AFib detected.’ But it happened when I was asleep so I thought, maybe there’s something more serious… that’s when I decided to see a doctor.”
He finally went to see the doctor thanks to the watch and app, his concerned girlfriend, and the Reddit community. He got blood tests and a 24h ECG. He was diagnosed with folate-deficiency anemia, which his doctor said can cause AFib. It was right after he went to the doctor that his skin became “gray” and he was regularly out of breath.
Treatment makes all the difference
Seeing the doctor is what got Tom diagnosed and it got him treatment — the folate pills mean he is no longer tired, feels much better, and the AFib has lessened, although he suspected he always had it.
His symptoms included tinnitus, now gone, which he initially thought was from his use of power tools… and his waking up and tiredness, which he thought was due to lack of sleep, is also better.
Tom believes it was his ScanWatch that led him to get treatment. In his words, “I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor if it wasn’t for the watch, or if I had gone, it would have been a lot later. And it would probably have been at a point months down the line, when I was getting really bad.”
The goldsmithing we teased at the start of this article? Well you can see Tom’s talented hands (and his ScanWatch) in action, in an amazing video he made showing how he handcrafted a stunning diamond ring for the girlfriend who (rightly) persuaded him to go to the doctor. She said yes, they are engaged to be married, and we hope they both live happily healthily ever after.