Apple Watch Could Detect Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure

The Apple Watch can accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea, a new study suggests

Researchers studying the healthcare implications for modern wearable devices have found that wrist-worn gadgets like Apple Watch and Fitbit can be used to accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea.

The last time Cardiogram used DeepHeart on an Apple Watch was to spot irregularities in heart rate rhythms. The findings prompted Apple to join forces with a Stanford team for their own research on the matter. apple is confident the Apple Watch can detect other common heart conditions. Hypertension - also known as high blood pressure - was detected by the Apple wearable with an accuracy of 82 percent.

An estimated 22 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. In addition, 80 percent of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder largely associated with heavy snoring in which breathing repeatedly stops.

Cardiogram and University of California San Francisco conducted the study using a deep learning algorithm called DeepHeart to detect the conditions with accuracy.

Similarly according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) more than 75 million adults in the USA suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). In 2003, the ARIC study (N=11,061) showed that those with low heart rate variability were 1.44x more likely to develop hypertension over 9 years. Right now most patients must go to the doctor and wait to be tested at sporadic intervals, making it hard to detect if there's a spike in blood pressure in the moment when it becomes critical, and even harder to tell if someone is suffering from sleep apnea, as that is something that happens while the person is asleep.

Just over 6,100 participants were recruited via the Cardiogram app to take part in the study, which has collected over 30 billion measurements to date. The study is promising as a way to diagnose health problems in people who may not they have it.

The crucial difference an Apple Watch or other heart rate-monitoring wearable has over visiting a doctor is its ability to constantly monitor and record data. "And then you'd guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment".

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