Samsung Galaxy watches will receive FDA-approved sleep apnea tracking capabilities in Q3 2024. This feature will enable users to monitor their sleep for signs of obstructive sleep apnea, a common yet under-diagnosed sleep disorder.
While this marks a significant step forward for the Galaxy Watch lineup, sleep apnea detection isn’t entirely new to the world of wearables. Devices like the Withings Sleep Analyzer, ScanWatch 2 and the Oura Ring already offer sleep apnea monitoring capabilities. Additionally, dedicated medical-grade wearables are used for diagnostic purposes.
Samsung’s move with FDA approval, however, brings this functionality to a wider audience within the popular Galaxy Watch ecosystem. When it goes live, the feature will require a one-time software update and will be accessible to users over 22 years old.
Sleep Apnea – what is it?
For those not in the know, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by recurrent pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last for several seconds and occur multiple times per night. They often disrupt sleep quality and oxygen levels.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form, occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked, preventing proper airflow. Left untreated, OSA can lead to a cascade of health complications, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, excessive daytime sleepiness, and impaired cognitive function.
OSA is a far more prevalent condition than many realize. In the United States alone, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that nearly 30 million adults have OSA, yet up to 80% remain undiagnosed. Studies published in respected medical journals like the Lancet Respiratory Medicine further underscore the condition’s widespread impact and the associated risks to cardiovascular health.
FDA approved Galaxy Watch Sleep Apnea detection
Samsung’s sleep apnea detection feature utilizes photoplethysmography (PPG) technology to monitor blood oxygen levels and pulse rate variability during sleep. By analyzing these metrics, the watch can identify patterns indicative of the condition.
Users simply wear the watch during sleep for two nights within a ten-day period to receive an assessment. While not a diagnostic tool in itself, the Galaxy Watch serves as a valuable screening aid, prompting users with suspected OSA to seek professional medical evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of OSA are crucial for managing the condition and preventing its associated health risks.
Essential reading: Ten gadgets for advanced sleep monitoring
Samsung’s innovation paves the way for further advancements in wearable sleep apnea detection. Looking ahead, we can expect to see this technology integrated into other wearables, such as smart rings and sleep trackers. The Galaxy Ring, anticipated for release in the second half of 2024, is a prime candidate to incorporate this feature, offering even more discreet and continuous sleep monitoring.
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