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Teaching your Apple Watch a new trick might save your life.

Apple has launched a joint study with Stanford Medicine to improve technology that identifies irregular heart rhythms. A new app uses the Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate sensor to find irregular heart rhythms. The app constantly runs in the background while you wear the watch. It alerts you if signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) are detected.

The dangers of AFib

Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of irregular heartbeat. If not treated, it may lead to stroke or other serious heart problems. Millions of Americans have AFib, but many don’t know it because they don’t notice any symptoms.

How the heart sensor works

To track your heart rate and rhythm, the Apple Watch heart sensor uses pulsating LED lights and light-sensitive photodiodes to track blood flow inside the wrist—peeking through the skin without disturbing it.

About the study

Apple invites anyone in the United States over the age of 22 to participate in the research. There’s no cost. The app, available in the iTunes App Store, enables you to enroll. In addition to showing you how your heart is doing, the app automatically shares your heart data with Apple and Stanford Medicine for research purposes. To avoid privacy concerns, Apple says it will not be able to directly identify individuals from this data.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said, “Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science.”

The new technology doesn’t replace your doctor. If signs of atrial fibrillation appear, see your physician for a professional diagnosis.

Would you monitor your heart health with a smart watch? Tell us why or why not by commenting below.