Health monitoring features on Apple Watch have kept users alive since the watch was first released in April 2015. In addition to the heart rate monitor, the watch now has an electrocardiogram function (in Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018).
An ECG is used to detect irregular heart rhythms, which can provide early warning of atrial fibrillation. The latter can lead to strokes, blood clots, heart failure, and other serious ailments. And last year, Apple Watch Series 6 added a sensor to determine the degree of blood oxygen saturation. Knowing the percentage of oxygen that your red blood cells carry from your lungs to the rest of your body can give you a general idea of your health and may even give you an early warning about COVID-19. The normal value is between 95% and 100%. Another useful feature on the watch is notifying pre-selected contacts if you fall and can’t get up.
Over the years, there has been talk of adding a feature to the Apple Watch that would measure a user’s blood sugar. This is very important for insulin dependent diabetics who need to have their blood sugar measured before each injection of insulin, as the amount of sugar found in their blood determines the dosage of each injection. Currently, a diabetic must draw blood for each test by applying it to an expensive test strip, which is then inserted into the meter for readings.
The process is painful and costly, and if Apple allows the Apple Watch to show blood sugar levels without requiring the user to draw blood and buy new test strips, Apple Watch sales could take off. As reported by The Telegraph, SEC documentation hints that Apple will add a blood glucose meter feature to the Apple Watch in 2022.
The Telegraph reports that Apple has been announced as the largest customer of Rockley Photonics, which has developed the next generation sensors. They will appear in wearable devices by next year. Sensors can read specific signals from a person’s blood by transmitting infrared light through the skin on the back of a smartwatch.
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