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The Apple Watch has positioned itself at the nexus of health and technology, bringing a world of information to the wrist of those who wear it. But can it monitor your blood sugar levels? To cut to the chase: no, it doesn’t possess that capability. However, that’s not the end of the story.
While it might not give readings on glucose, it is proficient at monitoring many other health metrics that are vital for well-being. In addition, with Apple’s propensity for innovation, who’s to say what the next iteration might offer? Let’s dive into what the Apple Watch currently offers and consider a few devices that cater to blood sugar monitoring.
Understanding How Blood Sugar Levels Are Measured
Blood sugar, often termed glucose, is a crucial metric for many, especially for those living with diabetes. Monitoring it can make the difference between feeling on top of the world or hitting an unforeseen slump.
Traditionally, blood sugar levels have been gauged using a method that’s a bit more hands-on—finger-pricking, to be exact. This process involves drawing a small drop of blood, typically from the fingertip, and then analyzing it with a glucometer. The result offers a snapshot of the glucose concentration in your bloodstream at that moment.
While the Apple Watch excels in many health-monitoring domains, direct glucose measurement isn’t currently one of its capabilities. But its absence in this area doesn’t diminish its value. Let’s look at what it can do and how it might evolve in the future.
The Apple Watch’s Health-Monitoring Capabilities
The Apple Watch has steadily been refining its features and expanding its capabilities in health and wellness, becoming more than just a device to tell time or check notifications. However, the Apple Watch Series 8 lacked blood sugar monitoring, and the Apple Watch Series 9 arrived without any indication it’s coming.
It might not yet be a glucometer for your wrist, but the Apple Watch still brings a myriad of other metrics that can help you monitor health conditions.
Heart Rate Monitoring
One of its standout features, the Apple Watch continuously monitors your heart rate throughout the day, providing insights into resting, walking, workout, and recovery rates. It’s not just about numbers, either.
If your heart rate goes above or below a specified threshold, the watch can notify you, helping you avert a potential crisis. Learn how to use the Apple Watch’s heart rate app.
ECG and Heart Rhythms
Introduced in later versions, the Apple Watch can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) right from your wrist, offering insights into your heart rhythms and even detecting signs of atrial fibrillation—a potentially serious form of irregular heart rhythm. Learn how to take an ECG on the Apple Watch.
With the advent of watchOS 7, Apple stepped into sleep tracking, offering insights into your nightly patterns and even providing recommendations to help enhance your rest.
Fall Detection and Emergency SOS
Especially useful for the elderly or those with certain medical conditions, the watch can detect if you’ve taken a hard fall and offer to call emergency services on your behalf. This is just one of the Apple Watch features that could save your life.
Activity and Fitness Tracking
No list would be complete without mentioning the foundational fitness capabilities of the Apple Watch. From monitoring daily movements, exercise, and standing patterns to offering guided workouts, it plays a crucial role in keeping many wearers active and aware of their physical activity.
While the current iteration may not directly monitor blood sugar, the desired glucose monitoring feature might just be on the horizon.
Devices That Can Measure Blood Sugar
While the Apple Watch can’t yet monitor glucose, there are other devices that can.
The Dexcom G6 offers real-time glucose readings, alerts for high and low levels, and the added convenience of being entirely fingerstick-free. Plus, it can seamlessly integrate with your smartphone.
Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system eliminates the need for routine finger pricks. A small sensor placed on the back of your upper arm can provide glucose readings for up to 14 days, and scanning it with the dedicated reader or your smartphone reveals real-time data.
This implantable CGM by Senseonics offers a unique take on glucose monitoring. Once inserted under the skin by a healthcare provider, it can provide readings for up to 90 days and provide vibrations to warn you of high or low glucose levels, even when you’re asleep.
This is another CGM system that provides predictive alerts, allowing you to take action before glucose levels reach high or low thresholds.
One Drop pairs a discreet meter with a comprehensive mobile app. This setup offers insights, predictions, and advice based on the glucose data and integrates other health metrics, providing a holistic view of your health.
Unlike other CGMs that require a needle for insertion, SugarBEAT is a non-invasive patch that sticks to the skin.
The Future of the Apple Watch
It’s no secret that wellness is a core part of Apple’s business model. And according to Bloomberg, Apple recently made major progress on non-invasive glucose tracking for its watch. However, there’s still no solid information suggesting the rumored blood glucose monitoring feature will come to Apple Watch Series 10.
How Might Non-Invasive Glucose Tracking Work on Apple Watch?
The most obvious technological solution would be optical sensors, which are used to measure things like heart rate. Or, Apple might surprise the world with a brand-new approach. For example, in addition to optical sensors or lasers, Apple may likely employ machine learning algorithms, as well.
Either way, they’re likely to aim for a non-invasive method, in line with their user-friendly ethos. Still, there are a few challenges. For instance, getting accurate blood sugar readings without taking a small blood sample has proven difficult. Accuracy isn’t just important; it’s vital for Apple.
Massive User Impact
If Apple nails it, it’s not just a win for diabetics. Anyone keen on understanding their health in depth stands to benefit. Real-time insights will help you make instant health decisions.
Glucose Monitoring on the Apple Watch
In the ever-evolving world of tech, the Apple Watch stands as an example of how innovation can genuinely improve lives. While you might not yet have glucose monitoring on your Apple Watch Series 8 or 9, the company is making progress.
In the meantime, whether you’re tracking your heart rate, aiming for that elusive full night’s sleep, or just waiting for the next big thing in wearable tech, one thing’s certain: the Apple Watch Series 9 is the leading wellness-focused smartwatch.