FOR better or for worse, phones have managed to make their way into every inch of our lives.
Whether that be to provide boundless entertainment, get you safely home after a night out or provide you with directions when lost.
We'd be lost without our much-loved handheld devices.
But now, our phones may be even more indispensable as scientists have created an app which may save thousands of lives each year.
The app has been created to spot early warning signs of a stroke or heart failure.
Over 100,000 Brits suffer a stroke every year and of those 38,000 die.
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Meanwhile, heart diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK, that's more than 160,000 deaths each year.
The revolutionary new app, created by pharma giant Pfizer, works by taking heart rhythm measurements via smartphones.
When the app detects heart rhythm irregularities – a common sign of serious health complications – it urges the patient to visit a healthcare professional.
It also provides relevant heath data to ensure the patient is prioritised and seen quickly.
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The app, called FibriCheck, is available for download in the UK.
As reported in the Khaleej Times, Lars Grieten, CEO of FibriCheck said: “We monitored more than a million people, and 70 per cent [of those withatrial fibrillation] were asymptomatic.
"Therefore, these technologies help early detection," she added.
An irregular heartbeat – otherwise known as atrial fibrillation – is the most common heart rhythm condition in the UK, affecting around 1.6 million people.
Atrial fibrillation can sometimes not cause any noticeable symptoms, and someone with an irregular or quickened heart rate may not realise.
The heart condition carries with it an increased risk of stroke and heart disease in patients.
What causes an irregular heartbeat and who is most at risk?
For your heart to beat normally, its muscular walls must contract to 'squeeze' blood out and around the body.
The walls then relax, allowing the heart to fill back up with blood.
This is what happens every time your heart beats.
But when a patient has atrial fibrillation, the heart's atria (upper chambers) contract sporadically, sometimes too fast for the heart muscle to relax properly between contractions.
This happens because of abnormal electrical impulses in the atria.
These impulses throw off the heart's natural pacemaker, which leads to a higher pulse.
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The exact cause of these abnormal electrical impulses is not known, but older people are more commonly affected (about 7 in 100 people over 65) and is more common in men than women.
Drinking too much alcohol or smoking could increase your risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
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