Apple Watch Can Detect Hypertension And Sleep Apnea

The study tapped Cardiogram, an Apple Watch application created to monitor heart activity and flag irregularities. This time around, the study focusses on sleep apnea and hypertension...

A new study out from health startup Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) suggests wearables like the Apple Watch, Fitbit and others are able to accurately detect common but serious conditions like hypertension and sleep apnea.

The study found that the neural network could correctly recognize hypertension with 82% accuracy and sleep apnea with 90% accuracy.

The study was participated by 6,155 people who were monitored using the Cardiogram app over a period of time, with the Apple Watch providing all the vital information reflected from each of them. In this case, the algorithm was able to detect arrhythmia in study participants with 97 percent accuracy.

An estimated 22 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. An estimated 22 million adults in the USA are affected, with 80 percent of cases going undiagnosed, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Sleep apnea can prove to be deadly when a person may stop breathing while sleeping leading to death.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 75 million USA adults suffer from hypertension. "If you have hypertension it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease".

Although the study was conducted using the Apple Watch, Johnson Hsieh, also the co-founder of Cardiogram, told TechCrunch that the study also applies to other wearables incorporated with photoplethysmographic (PPG) heart rate sensor as "they basically all have the same technology built inside". Apple has proactively pursued health care apps for its operating systems and Apple Watch, and has filed patents for health-related wearable tech like emergency-detecting sensors.

More than one billion people globally suffer from hypertension, with 20 percent of these left undiagnosed, the World Health Organization claims.

This study recruited participants for a Health eHeart study and trained the DeepHeart neural network to detect new variables with heart rate. 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.

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