News Galaxy Watch to detect signs of sleep apnea as the FDA gives the all-clear


Feb 23, 2011
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Sorry, but I won't trust any "at home" OSA testing device. I'm currently fighting a federally mandated medical exam result as part of keeping my CDL intact, so this article hits close to home. The examiner works for a company that is known to push drivers into sleep studies, who wrongly reported one of my measurements to put me over a risk threshold. I was required to do a sleep study to keep my med card, and they conveniently had pamphlets for companies that offer at home studies.

Basically you wear something akin to an oversized watch that has a microphone and finger clamp pulse ox meter. These companies have a reputation for false positives and requiring drivers do get on CPAP machines. Far too often those results are overturned by a true sleep lab study. I haven't yet been through this pending a second opinion physical, and don't expect to need it.

I say all that to make this point: If supposed medical equipment for at home studies are not reliable, why should I believe a relatively simplistic smartwatch? For one, it relies on the pulse ox detection, which can be wildly inaccurate on a watch. Second, the article claims Samsung warns that detection can vary based on things like the smartphone it's paired with and your carrier. Please tell me that I'm not the only one that saw red flags at that claim.

I think this is yet another case of over-diagnosis, where companies have profit motives to find new ways to make you think you're sick. No one is in absolute perfect health, and advancements in detection are making it so smaller and smaller imperfections are detectable. Imperfections that are nowhere near problematic and often resolve on their own, but the so called professionals treat it with the same aggression as a full blown disease, pressuring people into unnecessary and sometimes harmful treatments. From what I've been learning about OSA, I see many of the same hallmarks going on.

If you are concerned you have OSA, talk to your doctor, and not Dr. Watch. They can do screening for it and give you more accurate advise. If you do want to go your own way, then at least start with what's called the Stop Bang Assessment. The medical examiner only looked at BMI and neck size (which was over reported) and assumed the worst. My general practitioner ran the Stop Bang on me with the correct measurements plus the screening questions, and I fall into the low risk category. You can find that assessment online to do at home. Basically if you are not falling asleep during normal waking hours, not excessively snoring, have normal blood pressure, etc, then you're probably ok.

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