Samsung is set to introduce a sleep apnea detection feature to its Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 6 series in South Korea early next year. This move comes after the company received approval for the feature from Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), categorizing it as Software as a Medical Device (SaMD). The sleep apnea detection feature will be accessible through the Samsung Health Monitor app.
This technology aims to address the serious health issue of sleep apnea, a condition where individuals temporarily stop breathing while asleep, leading to decreased blood oxygen levels. Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in various health complications, including heart disorders, cognitive issues, hypertension, and even strokes.
The sleep apnea detection feature works by analyzing data from the blood oxygen sensor (SpO2) present in the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 6. The Samsung Health Monitor app will assess how blood oxygen levels change during episodes of apnea or hypopnea. It will then provide users with an estimated Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) score.
To ensure accurate detection, the feature requires at least two sleep cycles of more than four hours each. This will allow users to identify potential sleep apnea symptoms early and seek appropriate medical assistance before their condition deteriorates.
Sleep apnea is a significant concern in South Korea, where it is estimated that 1-2 million people may be affected by the condition. Alarmingly, about 75% of those individuals remain undiagnosed, highlighting the importance of accessible and accurate detection methods.
Samsung's endeavor to incorporate sleep apnea detection into its wearable technology aligns with its broader commitment to developing innovative health-focused technologies. By allowing users to proactively monitor their health, the company aims to empower individuals to better understand and manage their well-being, including sleep-related issues.
Hon Pak, Head of the Digital Health Team at Samsung MX, expressed the company's expectations that this feature will enhance users' ability to detect related symptoms early, facilitating more convenient and accessible health management. Samsung Electronics plans to continue its efforts in pioneering technologies that contribute to a comprehensive understanding and proactive management of health, particularly in the context of sleep-related conditions.