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Samsung Galaxy Watch: New sleep apnea feature ready to roll out in South Korea

A Galaxy Watch. (Source: Samsung)
A Galaxy Watch. (Source: Samsung)
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is estimated to affect about one billion people worldwide, and is currently associated with the risk of developing severe cardiovascular and neurological disease. Samsung has announced that its Galaxy Watch series is now officially approved to detect symptoms of the disorder in users, thereby possibly increasing their chances of early diagnosis.

The United States' National Sleep Foundation currently concludes that up to 10% of women and 25% of men in the country have OSA, a condition that causes persistent "pauses" in breathing during sleep. At best, OSA is associated with loud snoring and sleep disturbances, and at worst has been found to increase the risk of developing conditions such as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), stroke and even neurobehavioral disorders.

Despite these potential ramifications, it can be quite difficult to realize that one might have OSA and that it could require medical attention. However, Samsung is confident that it can help Galaxy Watch users with that. The wearables' new sleep apnea feature is rated to detect moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea via blood oxygen readings taken with their BioActive sensors.

The Watches correlate these values to episodes of apnea (no breathing) or hyponea (impaired breathing) and convert them into an Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) for the user. The feature is backed to start detecting symptoms, if any, after being on for just 2 nights of sleep (4 hours or more) within 10 nights.

Then again, Samsung concedes that it is intended only to aid a formal clinical diagnosis rather than replace one, and that the feature does not work for other forms of the disorder such as central apnea.

In addition, the new feature has been validated for its intended use by the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety only, and is as such available in that jurisdiction only for now. Nevertheless, Galaxy Watches can still assess blood pressure, electrocardiography and cardiac arrythmias in other regions.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 10 > Samsung Galaxy Watch: New sleep apnea feature ready to roll out in South Korea
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2023-10- 5 (Update: 2023-10- 5)