Pacing: Very interesting HealthRising article re HR and HRV monitoring and pacing - I may finally spring for an HR/HRV monitor!

Pyrrhus

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Last I checked, the ones that you wear on your wrist can only calculate heart rate (HR), but not heart rate variability (HRV). Only the ones you strap to your chest can calculate both HR and HRV.

But technology may have improved since I last checked...
 

sometexan84

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Judee

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I would say not to get the Wahoo one. That thing eats batteries and there were some days that even when it would sync to it's own app, it would not sync to the Elite HRV app. I ended up getting so frustrated with it that I would invariably give up because I figured my frustration would skew the reading anyway.
 

rel8ted

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Thanks @sometexan84 ! Do you use this with a smartphone? The technology is all new to me so I don't know how one would use it!
I used to have a polar with chest strap. I liked it, but the strap was annoying. I have a Garmin now & like it lots better bc I can just use the app to look at how things have gone throughout the day. There is a HR chart. Also has sleep tracking. It’s a vivofit, so not huge which I also like
 

Pyrrhus

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Thanks @sometexan84 ! Do you use this with a smartphone? The technology is all new to me so I don't know how one would use it!
I would focus on choosing a HR monitoring device, not an app.

Every heart rate monitoring device will come with its own app for your smartphone.

There are so many different brands that make HR monitors for your wrist, but only a couple brands that make chest straps that can calculate HRV, too.
 

Mary

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There are so many different brands that make HR monitors for your wrist, but only a couple brands that make chest straps that can calculate HRV, too.
Thanks @Pyrrhus ! As you can tell, this is all new to me. So - it sounds like you need a chest strap in order to calculate HRV and a smartwatch alone can't do it - is that correct?
 

Mary

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I used to have a polar with chest strap. I liked it, but the strap was annoying. I have a Garmin now & like it lots better bc I can just use the app to look at how things have gone throughout the day. There is a HR chart. Also has sleep tracking. It’s a vivofit, so not huge which I also like
Thank @rel8ted ! Does your vivofit calculate heart rate variability as well as HR alone, etc.?
 

rel8ted

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keepswimming

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Hi @Mary 😊
I have a garmin vivosmart 4 watch, it tracks my HRV 24/7 and records it as stress levels - lower HRV means higher stress levels and vice versa. I have found having this information incredibly helpful, and amazingly accurate. I got my watch 18 months after getting ill, and it has been one of the best things I've purchased for managing CFS, it taught me so much about managing my health, and what's really going on inside. It was amazing how it opened my eyes to how I cope with specific activities (I might think something isn't taking much energy, but I check my watch and my stress levels have rocketed - so in future, I know I need to limit that particular activity and give myself time to recover afterwards). Also just by looking at the data I can see where things are heading - I too have found that high stress/low HRV means I'm heading for a crash. Exceptionally low stress/high HRV means I'm in a crash and need to rest - I find I'm alerted to the crash earlier than I would be otherwise, so I can get resting sooner. I also find it so helpful to see data that proves this is really happening to me - it's not so "invisible" anymore. I absolutely love my watch, its really been a game changer for me in monitoring my health.
 

keepswimming

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This is what the data looks like on the garmin app. As I said, the stress levels are calculated using HRV. The top picture is what a good day would look like for me. The second picture is in the middle of a crash (you can see I keep dipping into blue 'rest' during the day). The last picture is pre-crash - my sympathetic nervous system is obviously "on" and things aren't going well - if the data looks like this I know a crash is imminent.

Obviously everyone is different so someone else's data might look very different to mine. But I've figured out how things work for me and its been so helpful.

Screenshot_20210309-202008_Connect.jpg
Screenshot_20210309-202000_Connect.jpg
Screenshot_20210309-201803_Connect.jpg
 

Mary

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I'm starting to get a sense of what's involved here and have been doing research on the Polar chest strap and the VivoSmart 4. Both overall get good reviews but also some concerning negative ones (e.g., some people complained the Polar strap just stopped working after several weeks). And there are some concerns about the accuracy of the VivoSmart 4.

I'm not looking for a fitness tracker, just HRV monitor - then I saw that Elite HRV has this product which I think only measures HRV AND is very easy to use, slip it on your finger like a pulse oximeter: CorSense Heart Rate Variability Finger Sensor by Elite HRV - so I'm assuming - hopefully not incorrectly! - that it would be one of the most accurate devices. Unfortunately it only has a 90 day warranty - why only 90 days for a $165 device???

It says 30 days on the product page but under the details for warranty it says 90, so I've written to confirm this. I just looked at the page again - it looks like you can return it for any reason within 30 days of purchase, but the warranty is for 90 days, if it breaks, etc.

It would be easier for me to use than a chest strap.

@sometexan84 - any thoughts on this device?
 

Sushi

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I did quite a bit of research on this subject when a group of patients was trying to choose a device that we would all wear and compare results. An important point is the technology used to track this data. The watch-only devices use an optical measurement (a light measuring blood flow in the wrist), while the chest-strap units record electrical activity and are much more accurate for HR. But, they are a pain to wear all the time. I tried wearing my Polar chest strap unit 24/7 for a while and it not only was not very comfortable but it irritated the skin.
Last I checked, the ones that you wear on your wrist can only calculate heart rate (HR), but not heart rate variability (HRV). Only the ones you strap to your chest can calculate both HR and HRV.
We actually bought Fitbit wrist units (the new Inspire 2--$100). We got a free year of their premium package and it is does track HR, HRV, breathing, sleep (detailed graphs showing both time asleep, awakenings and sleep stages), steps and it is supposed to detect the type of exercise activity you are doing.
I used to have a polar with chest strap. I liked it, but the strap was annoying.
Very annoying! But super accurate. Note all these HR monitors average your HR over several beats--so they do NOT give a beat-by-beat report. What you see on your display is an average over several seconds. For most purposes this is fine. If you are trying to track an arrhythmia, it can be slightly misleading.
Thanks @Pyrrhus ! As you can tell, this is all new to me. So - it sounds like you need a chest strap in order to calculate HRV and a smartwatch alone can't do it - is that correct?
Nope, some wrist units will track both.

So, after about 6 months of using the Fitbit Inspire 2, here is how it has performed (I'm guessing that all the various models of Fitbit will give similar results).

HR: it is off by about 3 BPM--I know this because I have a pacemaker that is set for an exact rate and the Fitbit reads 3 beats faster.

HRV: The graph display is not as detailed as the garmin vivosmart 4 that @keepswimming posted about. I have no way to know if the HRV data on the Fitbit is accurate though.

Breathing: Not a detailed graph and I don't have a way to check its accuracy.

Sleep: great graphs but not so accurate. Sometimes it reports that I am asleep when I am awake and vice-versa--but it does give a pretty good general picture.

Steps: not totally accurate but pretty good ballpark. (I have counted my steps for short periods to compare).

Detecting exercise: I have been trying the occasional short, outdoor bike ride. It recognizes this, times it and gives my average HR for the ride--but it only recognizes it about 2/3 rds of the time.

Another consideration is EMFs. They all emit some but smart phone type tracker seem to emit more. Most trackers of all sorts use Bluetooth.

Hope this helps.
 

hapl808

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This is a really interesting idea. I've been frustrated by not being able to tell if I'm improving, getting worse, heading into PEM, etc. Sometimes a doctor's visit crashes me, sometimes it doesn't. I monitor diet carefully, number of steps (from my phone), etc. But I would love a method that gives me useful feedback. I tried using some HRV apps on the iPhone, but the numbers were clearly all over the place.

I'd love to hear other people's experiences with HRV and these devices to monitor the efficacy of supplements, whether you're heading into a PEM crash, etc. I'd happily buy a smart device if it gave me useful information to improve my physical condition.