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Fitbit rolls out SpO2 blood oxygen monitoring feature: How it works, use cases and more

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By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: January 16, 2020 1:15:40 pm


Fitbit, FitBit blood oxygen monitor, Fitbit SpO2, Fitbit charge 3, what is blood oxygen monitor, Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Iconic SpO2 essentially helps in detecting breathing issues such as asthma as well as sleep apnea and heart disease by measuring big variations in blood oxygen saturation. (Image of Fitbit Versa 2)

Fitbit has activated the blood oxygen monitoring or SpO2 feature on its wearables including the Versa smartwatch, Iconic, as well as Charge 3. Though Fitbit included the SpO2 hardware in its wearables, it is only recently that the company seems to have activated it, reported Engadget.

SpO2 essentially helps in detecting breathing issues such as asthma as well as sleep apnea and heart disease by measuring big variations in blood oxygen saturation. So, what exactly is SpO2 blood oxygen monitoring and which Fitbit devices have this? We take a look:

SpO2 blood oxygen monitoring feature: What is it, how it works?

SpO2 oxygen monitoring measures oxygen levels in the blood and alerts the user in case of any abnormalities, which might help detect serious diseases such as sleep apnea, asthma, or even heart issues. For those unaware, a normal blood oxygen level reading is typically between 95 per cent to 100 per cent.

Fitbit, FitBit blood oxygen monitor, Fitbit SpO2, Fitbit charge 3, what is blood oxygen monitor, Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Iconic Fitbit blood oxygen level graphs do not reveal the percentage of blood oxygen levels, instead detect estimated big or small variations. (Image: Reddit)

However, do note that Fitbit blood oxygen level graphs do not reveal the percentage of blood oxygen levels, instead detect estimated big or small variations.

Fitibit wearables use a light-based optical SpO2 sensor or pulse oximeter that can measure blood oxygen levels at night when the user is sleeping. These rely on red and infrared light, which is typically at the back of the device, to measure the blood oxygen levels.

SpO2 blood oxygen monitoring feature: How is it helpful?

Blood oxygen monitoring can be particularly useful for people suffering from serious sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. In such cases, the wearable can alert the user if big variations are recorded. The SpO2 data can prove to be useful for people suffering from asthma, heart diseases, etc.

SpO2 blood oxygen monitoring feature: Which wearables have this?

In the case of Fitbit, the functionality has reportedly been activated for Versa wearables as well as Iconic and Charge 3. Apparently the user doesn’t need a Premium Fitbit account to access the feature.

However, SpO2 blood oxygen monitor isn’t new. Withings was among the first players to introduce SpO2 on its Pulse OX wearable about three years ago. A slew of Garmin fitness trackers ship with the feature as well. Apple is yet to activate SpO2 on its devices, though it ships with hardware, which is capable of this.

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Updated: January 18, 2020 — 3:24 am

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