Man­u­fac­tur­ers of activ­i­ty track­ers strive to cre­ate ver­sa­tile devices stuffed with sen­sors to the max­i­mum. Although it is not always about the qual­i­ty and accu­ra­cy of mea­sure­ments, such ideas are being suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed. More and more man­u­fac­tur­ers offer advanced mea­sure­ment sys­tems.

  SpO2 - what is it and how does it work

As for mon­i­tor­ing the fill­ing of oxy­gen in the blood, such a med­ical acces­so­ry is rel­e­vant for dif­fer­ent users: ath­letes and active peo­ple. With smart gad­gets, train­ing and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty takes place strict­ly accord­ing to the planned rhythm.

SpO2 sensors and devices — what are they and how do they work?

Thanks to smart tech­nol­o­gy, peo­ple can call or reject a call with­out tak­ing their phone out of their pock­et. The same goes for sit­u­a­tions where you receive noti­fi­ca­tions from social net­works while run­ning. In this case, fit­ness track­ers help out, the capa­bil­i­ties of which are not lim­it­ed to mon­i­tor­ing the con­di­tion.

  SpO2 - measurement

Elec­tron­ic gad­gets have many use­ful and addi­tion­al func­tions. Man­u­fac­tur­ers would like to make every­day life eas­i­er for users, and this is not about lux­u­ry, but about try­ing to match the spir­it of moder­ni­ty. The time has come when a fit­ness bracelet with an oxy­gen mea­sure­ment func­tion takes the place of watch­es on an equal foot­ing in the rank­ing of wrist acces­sories.

For most users, the requests are still the same. Peo­ple who are phys­i­cal­ly active want to con­trol their heart rate, breath­ing, plan routes (thanks to GPS nav­i­ga­tion) and even mea­sure blood pres­sure. For many of them, a pulse oxime­ter is in the must-have cat­e­go­ry.

So, about sat­u­ra­tion. SpO2 is a mea­sure of oxy­gen in the blood. Low sat­u­ra­tion is a sign of res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases or defects in inter­nal organs. These include:

  • asth­ma,
  • viral and bac­te­r­i­al res­pi­ra­to­ry infec­tions,
  • heart and lung defects.

A drop in num­bers is con­sid­ered a sign of COVID-19 dis­ease. There­fore, the pulse oxime­ter has become an inno­v­a­tive device that has bro­ken all records of pop­u­lar­i­ty in 2020. By them­selves, sys­tems that show the lev­el of SpO2 are straight­for­ward.

To mea­sure, the device emits light puls­es, so the acces­so­ry flash­es, with which you can set the inten­si­ty of absorp­tion of oxy­he­mo­glo­bin. It is an unsta­ble com­bi­na­tion of oxy­gen and hemo­glo­bin in the blood. Depend­ing on the degree of light absorp­tion by oxy­he­mo­glo­bin, the device reads the indi­ca­tor.

For com­plete com­fort: How to prop­er­ly use a humid­i­fi­er: 10 + oper­at­ing tips

How is SpO2 compliance measured in smart watches, medical devices and fitness trackers?

The pulse oxime­ter in smart watch­es is not new. Inte­gra­tion of such a sen­sor into a wrist device and its active pro­mo­tion is one of the trends of 2020. How­ev­er, not all brands take mea­sure­ments with high qual­i­ty, which has caused a lot of com­plaints from users. If the SpO2 mea­sure­ment is inac­cu­rate, it is not prac­ti­cal to buy an addi­tion­al med­ical type device.

The pres­ence of a smart watch or a sports bracelet is enough to mea­sure sat­u­ra­tion. Wrist acces­sories can­not com­plete­ly replace pro­fes­sion­al med­ical equip­ment. The accu­ra­cy of the sen­sor, which shows the con­tent of O2 in fit­ness bracelets, leaves much to be desired. Although not every­one is so pes­simistic. If cycles of mea­sure­ments tak­en at inter­vals of sev­er­al min­utes con­firm low or under­es­ti­mat­ed sat­u­ra­tion, it is worth tak­ing seri­ous­ly such a sig­nal from the body. This is a good rea­son to con­sult a doc­tor. After all, not even the most accu­rate sen­sor will help peo­ple under­stand that not every­thing is in order with health.

From the must-have cat­e­go­ry: Sports gad­gets — TOP‑5 for pro­duc­tive phys­i­cal edu­ca­tion greet­ings

Who needs to control the saturation indicator?

Mod­ern gad­gets and acces­sories are able to con­trol sleep and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, build dia­grams, and gen­er­ate tips. All this thanks to arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and oth­er chips. Every year more and more new tech­nolo­gies based on AI appear on the mar­ket. The trends of 2020 have become espe­cial­ly spe­cif­ic. Pulse oxime­ters have sky­rock­et­ed in pop­u­lar­i­ty this year. There are prac­ti­cal­ly no peo­ple who would not be inter­est­ed in whether oxy­gen enters their blood in the right quan­ti­ties.

A good pulse oxime­ter or a gad­get that addi­tion­al­ly mea­sures blood pres­sure is suit­able for sports fans and peo­ple who have prob­lems with the heart and blood cir­cu­la­tion. For most ath­letes, the SpO2 sen­sor is not a toy. When blood pres­sure is crit­i­cal, and the pulse rate exceeds nor­mal lim­its, such a sen­sor always sig­nals. In a low sat­u­ra­tion sit­u­a­tion, ear­ly detec­tion of the prob­lem will help pre­vent more seri­ous con­se­quences.

Best Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Sam­sung Galaxy Fit: Design, Specs and 7 Health Fea­tures Reviewed

SpO2 level: what is the norm?

The mea­sure­ment of oxy­gen in the blood con­sists of two com­po­nents: con­stant and vari­able. Some devices simul­ta­ne­ous­ly show the dynam­ics of con­trac­tion of the heart mus­cle, but this is not a stan­dard. Such acces­sories are use­ful for those who suf­fer from:

  1. Dis­eases of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem.
  2. Hyper­ten­sion.
  3. Dia­betes.

Accord­ing to the instruc­tions, the cor­rect sat­u­ra­tion for a healthy per­son is in the range of 95 to 99. If this is not the case, it is worth going to the doc­tor.

Gadget models with SpO2 measurement — top 3 best devices of 2020

Today is the 21st cen­tu­ry. There are more and more mod­els on the mar­ket equipped with a pulse oxime­ter. A decade ago, a sim­i­lar func­tion was pro­vid­ed only for top-end gad­gets. In the midst of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, half of man­u­fac­tur­ers are embed­ding such a sen­sor wher­ev­er pos­si­ble: in smart watch­es, med­ical devices, fit­ness bracelets and oth­er acces­sories.

In 2020, the fol­low­ing mod­els were con­sid­ered sales lead­ers:

Check­ing activ­i­ty results, receiv­ing noti­fi­ca­tions from loved ones and mon­i­tor­ing sleep using a smart watch is a com­mon thing. Regard­less of pref­er­ences and how often peo­ple run, ride a bike or work out, the Sam­sung Galaxy Watch 3 and oth­er get togeth­er will be indis­pens­able assis­tants. Smart watch­es are easy to use, they have a touch screen. Even for old­er peo­ple, set­ting up sound noti­fi­ca­tions and vibra­tions will not be dif­fi­cult.

For the active: How to use a com­pass: 3 tips

Alternative ways to measure SpO2

There are many signs that smart­watch­es will become data mon­i­tor­ing devices in the future, which doc­tors are tak­ing into account. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are already ready to help in diag­nos­ing patients. But using these acces­sories is not the only way to mea­sure sat­u­ra­tion.

SpO2 measurement is a doctor's job

No even the most mod­ern smart watch­es and oth­er com­mer­cial acces­sories with pres­sure or pulse mea­sure­ment can replace reg­u­lar checks by spe­cial­ists. Med­ical tests for the diag­no­sis of dis­eases still retain their impec­ca­ble lead­er­ship. Elec­tron­ic equip­ment should be treat­ed as a sen­so­ry sys­tem that is used for day-to-day activ­i­ty mon­i­tor­ing. This applies to deter­min­ing the heart rate, sleep sta­tus and oth­er things. An addi­tion­al health check with a doc­tor will nev­er be super­flu­ous.

So, about the main thing. Minia­ture sen­sors help mon­i­tor health, mon­i­tor sleep and well-being, doing it reg­u­lar­ly at any time of the day or night. A smart watch is the per­fect com­pan­ion, whether peo­ple exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly or not. Such devices are pro­grammed to mea­sure the pres­sure and inten­si­ty of con­trac­tion of the heart mus­cle.

Some mod­els are indis­pens­able dur­ing trips to the moun­tains. They con­stant­ly mon­i­tor acclima­ti­za­tion and mon­i­tor phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. Thanks to this, peo­ple can under­stand where the thresh­old of endurance is when it is para­mount.

Relat­ed: Hik­ing Gad­gets: Top 10 Essen­tials