The measurement of blood oxygen level by smartwatches: How reliable is it?

The measurement of blood oxygen level by smartwatches: How reliable is it?


The new wearable tech metric focuses on blood oxygen levels - and it's going to change everything. Despite its complexity and seeming meaninglessness, pulse oxygen levels reveal sleep apnea and can aid athletes in recovery.

By talking about blood oxygen levels measurement, also called Sp02, we are crossing into the domain of medical technology. Traditionally, this tech took the form of a clip-on device that was attached to a finger, a toe, or even the lobe of your ear. While this method was easy, it did have some disadvantages, as you needed specialized equipment and most people ignored the importance of blood oxygen measurement.

Sp02 visual
Source: PixaBay

During COVID-19 second wave, the delay in monitoring the blood oxygen level and, eventually, late hospitalization were major causes of death. Thus, this was probably a turning point in the industry of smartwatches, but not only. People started paying attention to the blood oxygen level, and more and more companies that produce smartwatches started including this feature in their products.

Simply put, pulse oximetry measures the saturation of the blood with oxygen, or blood oxygen levels. Medically, oxygen is probably the fifth vital sign to check, since its absence can cause death.

Considering the importance of this feature in a smartwatch, Deep Rio included it in all of its products. The smartwatches offered by Deep Rio are all-in-one wearable health devices designed for everyday use. They can help you track your vital signs, track your steps, measure your calories, help you with your daily activities, and have quicker and faster access to all of your notifications.

Deep Rio's smartwatch visual

Clinical diseases often lead to insufficient oxygenation of cells, which directly affects their metabolism, and can be life-threatening in severe cases. Hence, blood oxygen levels tests are vital in medical investigations. To improve your health overview without seeing your doctor, Deep Rio’s smartwatches offer a variety of health advantages, and, of course, the measurement of blood oxygen is one of them.

With all that in mind, one may wonder: what exactly does the smartwatch do when it measures blood oxygen levels? Are the results of the Sp02 test reliable? Before answering those questions, it is important to know how a smartwatch measures blood oxygen levels.

Usually, a blood oxygen measurement feature on the smartwatch will let you know how healthy you are based on the level of oxygen saturation in your arterial blood. Blood oxygen saturation refers to the concentration of oxygen in the blood in association with hemoglobin. Using a smartwatch to measure blood oxygen is similar to acupressure, with the variation that the part of the body illuminated by the light is the wrist.

Smartwatch sensors

As the smartwatch measures the blood oxygen level, red light reflected off the subcutaneous tissue or bone is projected onto the body surface. The light is reflected from the subcutaneous tissue or bone and presented to the smartwatch's sensor, which determines the difference between the reflected and emitted light.

A blood oxygen reading can determine whether someone needs a ventilator to assist them in breathing, whether they can keep up with intensive physical activities, or whether they have breathing issues while sleeping. Due to most of those reasons, smartwatches with this feature offer far more convenience.

A big advantage of using a smartwatch for this measurement is that users can run the blood oxygen test anytime and anywhere using a smartwatch instead of bringing extra medical equipment. You might find it difficult to carry a traditional pulse oximeter while on a hike or in the office.

Generally, if the Sp02 results in a blood oxygen level higher than 95% indicate normal health. It might be time to visit a doctor and take a closer look if the score is 92% or less. Find out if any undetected health issues are involved.

For instance, in the case of sleep apnea, the measurement of blood oxygen levels can be extremely helpful. Sleep apnea could result in high blood pressure, obesity, and can even lead to a heart attack if left untreated or undetected.

Currently, blood oxygen measurement features on smartwatches are not FDA or NMPA certified, which means they are not qualified to diagnose diseases. In terms of accuracy, consumer products and medical products follow different standards. The performance of smartwatches for measuring blood oxygen shows that despite improving accuracy, there is a gap between them and medical-level equipment.

Blood oxygen measuring

Even though smartwatches cannot offer the same accuracy as specialized medical devices, they are more accessible and more convenient for everyday use. Deep Rio's smartwatches are good examples of comfortable, affordable, and useful devices for monitoring various health elements through a single device.

While smartwatches cannot give you perfect, unquestionable measurements, they provide you with more than enough information to know if you need to see a medical professional and increase oxygen levels in your blood. As an example, Deep Rio Vidaa and Niagara can supply insights into your well-being that doctors can use to determine your treatment plan.

Deep Rio's smartwatches offer insight into your sleep, and due to its importance, you should take note of how long and efficient you sleep. Maintaining good health and functioning throughout your life requires a good night's sleep.

smart reminder visual

 Another example of benefits brought by Deep Rio’s smartwatches is the smart reminder. It's a good idea to use it to remind you to drink more water, which is crucial for your health. An adult's body is approximately 60% water. Furthermore, we must consume enough water to survive. Getting a drinking water reminder might be your best bet if you struggle to drink water.

In addition to the features of measuring blood oxygen levels, sleep tracking, smart reminders, Deep Rio’s smartwatches offer many more health and fitness features. Other examples are a 24h heart rate monitor, guided relaxation breathing, special features for sport, and many more.

It may not be possible to obtain medical-grade measurements of blood oxygen levels from a smartwatch, but they do provide valuable insight into your health. You can use smartwatches to monitor the general health of your body and learn when it's time to go see a doctor and ask for some precise and detailed tests.

A smartwatch is not just a fashion accessory or a way of not missing notifications; they help keep you on top of your health. They can certainly offer valuable insight into the blood oxygen levels as well vital signs overall, making them an excellent choice.


Written by Adela

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