Apple Watch alerts teen to health problem

Deanna Recktenwald got her white Apple Watch for Christmas, and mostly used it to check Snapchat and other social media apps.  But now the Hillsborough County teenager is glued to the device for another reason.

"I did not plan on depending on the watch to tell me my heart rate at all," Deanna said.

The teen was at church with her family last Sunday when suddenly she got a notification on the watch that her heart rate was abnormally high.

"It was scary because she was just sitting there, she wasn't doing anything, it wasn't like she was running around. She was just standing there and it spiked up to 190," said Stacey Recktenwald, Deanna’s mother.

At first, the registered nurse was skeptical, but her daughter's pulse matched the number showing on the watch.  After monitoring the readings for about an hour, they went to get things checked out by a doctor and Deanna ended up in the emergency room.

"It definitely was a blessing because we wouldn't have had any idea what we were about to find out at the hospital," Stacey said.

Blood tests revealed Deanna was in kidney failure.  The organs were only functioning at 20 percent. The 18-year-old spent the next three days in the hospital, and was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. 

Deanna didn't have any symptoms, and the condition could have continued to worsen if doctors didn’t catch it.

"It's crazy how this watch led me to the hospital and helped me with that, which I’m so thankful for," Deanna said.

It's gratitude her parents also share for the technology that tipped them off.

"I didn't realize that it was such a powerful tool,” said Stacey.  "You know, it saved her life, it really saved her life."

The reason for Deanna’s spiking heart rate is still a mystery.  She plans to see a cardiologist, and in the meantime, keep a close eye on her heart rate monitor.