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Lifesaving Galaxy Watch feature approved for US, but Brits wait

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch range has been approved for detecting the dangerous sleep apnea condition, in the United States.

Sleep apnea, which describes when a person experiences stoppages in the regular breathing rhythm during sleep and thus denying the body oxygen, not only damages sleep quality and results in daytime tiredness, but can increase the risk of serious cardiovascular conditions.

Detecting sleep apnea is a huge deal, when a stroke is one of the more dangerous risk factors. Those who have been diagnosed with the condition often remedy it with a CPAP machine that ensures a continuous flow of oxgen throughout the night by using mild air pressure to keep the airwaves open.

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In a blog post, the company said the feature is the first of its kind to be approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval means owners of timepieces like the Galaxy Watch 6 in the United States owners, with a compatible smartwatch and phone, will see the feature roll out sometime between July and September.

The feature was previously approved for use in Samsung’s home country of South Korea, but Brits and Europeans are still waiting for the potentially lifesaving feature to be greenlit by the requisite regulators.

Samsung says: “The sleep apnea feature enables users over the age of 22 who have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea to detect signs of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) over a two-night monitoring period, a common and chronic sleep condition that often goes undiagnosed and untreated. To utilize the feature, users can simply track their sleep twice for more than four hours within a ten-day period.”

Samsung isn’t being specific about which phones and watches will support the feature, but says it isn’t designed for people who’ve already been diagnosed with the condition. The indications from the detected data can inform the user to seek medical attention but Samsung isn’t saying it should be used to assist doctors in diagnosing the condition.

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