Fitbit is rolling out an important update to some devices this week. The lucky devices will use pre-existing red and infrared sensors on the back of the device to estimate the variability in users’ blood oxygen saturation level.
The feature was announced way back in August, but Fitbit fans are only just getting their hands on it. Fitbit’s new Estimated Oxygen Variation graph is rolling out to all Charge 3, Ionic, Versa, Versa Lite, and Versa 2 users over the course of this week, though some users were given early access in January.
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It’s mainly intended to help inform users how well they’re sleeping and how restorative their sleep pattern is.
A Fitbit spokesperson told Trusted Reviews: “The graph, which users can see in the Fitbit app under the Sleep tile, approximates the changes in your blood oxygen saturation while you sleep. Blood oxygen saturation measures the percent of your blood that’s saturated with oxygen.
“Typically, it’s at 95-100%, meaning the blood is carrying as much oxygen as it can. If you stop breathing or have other lung issues, the saturation level can fall since less oxygen enters the body. In general, variations should be low and seeing frequent, big variations could be a sign that you may be experiencing breathing disturbances during sleep.”
This means that the Fitbit can help users detect if they suffer from sleep apnoea, a condition which sees sufferers’ breathing stop and start as they sleep.
Notice that the word ‘estimated’ is always included in the title of the feature? That’s because Fitbit don’t want you to start treating your device like a doctor.
The spokesperson added: “The graph is another example of our commitment to providing more useful data to our users, but it is not intended for medical purposes. You should always consult your health care professional about any questions or health issues you may have.”
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So, don’t go to your Fitbit for all your healthcare needs but do, by all means, try out the new feature. It’s an interesting addition to the device and we’re keen to hear how it goes down with users.