Fitbit wants to add sleep apnea tracking to future wearables

In anticipation of what Google has in store for the recently purchased Fitbit, the fitness tracker company has drawn up plans to develop sleep apnea tracking in future products.

An estimated 22 million American adults have the condition, many of which do not know that they have been affected. Sleep apnea affects breathing, with paused breathing or periods of superficial breathing during sleep. The most common signal that someone has the condition is loud snoring, followed by choking or sniffing while breathing resumes.

Fitbit wants to add sleep apnea to a future portable device, which would complement the blood oxygen level that is included in many wearables that the company has made in recent years, thanks to an SpO2 sensor. This generates a “Estimated oxygen variation” tracking option that tracks oxygen levels during your sleep. This existing data can possibly be used to determine whether carriers suffer from sleep apnea.

“Fitbit continues to collect clinical data to test and develop FDA approved sleep apnea functions,” a Fitbit spokesperson told Gizmodo. “They expect to submit FDA approval soon and maintain a dialogue with the FDA during this process.”

That means that recent activation of SpO2 levels is one step closer to getting FDA approval for sleep apnea diagnosis and tracking on Fitbit hardware in the coming years. Again, we still don’t know exactly what Google is planning for Fitbit, but with a catalog of growing health tracking features, we can see things overflowing in Wear OS hardware in the coming years.

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