FARMINGTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Fitness trackers have been the latest craze for some time now, but a Connecticut woman said hers helped save her life when it signaled that something was seriously wrong.

Patricia Lauder bought the tracker to count her steps and help her lose weight.

“That was the main reason I bought the FitBit initially, which was well over a year ago,” she told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.

Now, the 73-year-old credits the device with saving her life. A few months ago she wasn’t feeling well, and thought her sinus infection may have turned into pneumonia.

“I went to the doctors to have that checked out and that turned out to be negative,” she said.

Then she noticed her resting heart rate was climbing higher and higher every day. She had shortness of breath and her heart rate spiked to 140 beats per minute. Lauder called an ambulance right away.

“When it finally got to the point where walking across the room was a major issue, I picked up the phone, and knew I needed help,” she said.

Doctors at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut did a CT scan and discovered a potentially deadly problem — two pulmonary embolisms or blood clots.

“That showed a large clot in the lung artery in both sides,” Dr. Juyong Lee explained.

Her heart was also enlarged.

Dr. Lee said blood clots in the lung put a strain on the heart causing blood pressure and oxygen levels to drop dangerously.

Doctors gave her clot busting drugs right away. By the next day, her clots were gone.

She said without her FitBit, she may not be her to tell her story.

“It certainly helped me under the most recent circumstances,” she said.

Pat’s lung and heart function returned to normal. She’s now counting her blessings, and back to counting her steps.

Doctors said symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness.



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