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A nursing student is telling Apple Watch wearers to do this after she made an alarming discovery

Apple Watch 7 heart rate monitor
(Image credit: Future)

A nursing student from Australia is encouraging Apple Watch users to enable their heart rate notifications after realizing her watch had spotted a serious health condition months before she was diagnosed. 

Apple’s heart rate notifications can help wearers spot possible issues with their heart health. When enabled, the notifications alert users when they're experiencing high or low heart rates, as well as irregular heart rhythms. If you know how to use your Apple Watch, you might even have heart rate alerts turned on already. 

In a video posted to TikTok (opens in new tab) on February 2, Lauren Rebecca, a nursing student from Sydney, encouraged viewers to enable these notifications. The video shows how her Apple Watch detected changes in her health and should have made her realize something was wrong sooner. 

@studyvlogloz (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Lauren 🤍 (opens in new tab)

Lauren shares a graph from her Apple Watch showing that her oxygen consumption dramatically dropped in October, “a sign my cardiovascular system wasn’t working as well as it once was." Lauren says the drop corresponded to the start of her other symptoms, which included fatigue, heat sensitivity, weight gain, dry skin and general irritability. 

In December Lauren posted a TikTok video revealing she was diagnosed with thyroid hemiagenesis — a rare abnormality of the thyroid gland. 

“Don't get me wrong, your Apple Watch is definitely not something you should follow as medical advice, but it can come in handy, I guess, as a tool to prompt you to go get things investigated further," the nursing student said. "But on this occasion, I really wish that I had all the settings toggled on and noticed the changes and gone to the doctor sooner."

how to turn heart rate notifications on the Apple Watch on

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

How to turn on Apple Watch health notifications

But how do you turn on Apple Watch health notifications for yourself? Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap ‘My Watch’ then scroll down to ‘Heart’. From here you should set up your ECG app to look for signs of atrial fibrillation, if you have an eligible Apple Watch. The Apple Watch 7 through Apple Watch 4 all have an ECG reader, but the Apple Watch SE does not.

Next, you should turn on cardio fitness notifications, which assess your cardio fitness and notify you when it's low. Lastly, enable irregular heart rate notifications. 

An Apple Watch has recently helped save a dentist's life with its heart rate monitoring function. So there's really no excuse to not be receiving health notifications from your Apple Watch, it could be a real lifesaver.  

Looking to invest in an Apple Watch? Here's your guide to the best Apple Watch for you, plus the best Apple Watch deals for saving money on a new smartwatch. If you're a runner, here's how to stop your Apple Watch from cutting your run short

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.