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Bengalis should not buy the Apple Watch Series 4

Hypochondriacs constantly monitoring their hearts? What could go wrong.

 |  3-minute read |   13-09-2018
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For those of you who are not Bengali, and are blissfully unaware of the real Bengali culture, here’s everything you need to know: We are hypochondriacs.

If you chance upon a Bengali household, and possess a keen sense of observation, you’ll notice that aside from a miniature statue of Robindronath Thakur — a fixture in every household that has left cliché far behind — hidden in plain sight throughout the household are pills and bottles of medicines. From Gelusil (both pink tablets and the viscous pink liquid), Pudin Hara, Branolia, assorted vials of homoeopathic mumbo-jumbo, and at least 75 other kinds of medicine — allopathic, Ayurvedic and whatever other ic-s are possible — the Bengali house is an established unlicensed pharmacy.

It is for this reason alone that Bengalis should avoid buying the Apple Watch Series 4.

Bear with me, for this is not anti-corporation communist drivel. It is good advice that can be supported by some (okay, maybe less than some) facts.

watch_091318050122.jpgHypochondriacs constantly monitoring their hearts? What could go wrong. Photo: Screengrab

On September 12, at the Steve Jobs Theatre inside the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, the Apple Watch Series 4 was announced. While it is near-impossible for me to imagine why anyone would want to wear an Apple Watch, and would wait patiently year after year to see minor upgrades being peddled as revolutionary, leading a sizeable chunk of the population to purchase this overpriced wrist-accessory, many on this planet do look forward to this stuff.

Of course, curiosity did get the better of me and I glanced at the event playing on TV with casual disdain. The Apple Watch, strangely, caught my attention. This “revolutionary” new product now comes with its own Electrocardiogram (ECG). Yeah. According to CNET, “The biggest feature add to Watch besides the larger viewable image area was its heart health features, in particular, its ability to perform an ECG and also can detect AFib.”

AFib or Atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. 

Basically, all those who can afford $399-599 can constantly monitor their hearts.

Isn’t that just lovely?

watch-2_091318050136.jpgWorrying itself leads to the increased risk of heart disease. Who would have thought, eh? (Photo: Screengrab)

Here’s where the problems begin. While the device and its ECG have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — FDA chief Scott Gottlieb told Gizmodo that, “The FDA worked closely with the company as they developed and tested these software products, which may help millions of users identify health concerns more quickly” — it is worth noting that hypochondriacs constantly monitoring their hearts is not a great idea.

According to research conducted by the University of Bergen in Norway, hypochondriacs are 73 per cent more likely to develop heart disease. The research found that not only did characteristic behaviour among persons with health anxiety, such as monitoring and frequent check-ups of symptoms, not reduce the risk of coronary heart disease events, the stress created by this behaviour is what can lead to heart ailments!

Basically, worrying itself leads to the increased risk of heart disease, rather than any associated lifestyle factors. Who would have thought, eh?

Now imagine the effect a tiny piece of technology would have on a bunch of people who are more worried about their heart and stomachs (although this worry never leads to a decreased consumption of cigarettes, red meat and alcohol, mind you) than they are about the economy — or just about anything else.

Of course this bit of advice, I realise as I write this, is unnecessary. Bengalis, above all, are stingy. There is no way we’re going to spend that much money on a wrist watch (or something that looks like a wrist watch).

Also read: What it was like growing up Bengali

Writer

Pathikrit Sanyal Pathikrit Sanyal @bucketheadcase

The author is a culture writer who likes talking about the internet, memes, privacy and all things pop culture.

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