While almost all of us know how oxygen is vital to life, few probably realize that the oxygen is actually distributed throughout our body via our blood. In addition to metrics like heart rate or even ECG, blood oxygen saturation has become one of the easiest ways to detect abnormalities in our bodies. Fitbit is now making that even easier with a new “Signature” SpO2 clock face designed exactly for that purpose.
SpO2, a.k.a. blood oxygenation a.k.a. blood oxygen saturation, refers to just how much oxygen our blood is able to carry from our longs to the rest of our body. This should be in the high 90% or above figures, especially when you’re awake. Those levels are also mostly constant throughout our lives, even if they differ from person to person, so any significant dip could indicate something wrong with our health.
Measuring blood oxygenation has become easy and painless with pulse oximeters and some smartphones, like Samsung’s, have actually sported such sensors in the past. These work by shining infrared light on blood vessels under the skin and measuring the saturation of red color as an indication of oxygen saturation.
Fitbit’s smartwatches have long had such sensors, of course, but what’s new is a watch face dedicated to monitoring your SpO2 level during sleep. After downloading the watch face, users simply need to switch to it when they go to bed and it will start measuring while you snooze. You get your results an hour after you wake up.
The Signature SpO2 clock face will be available for the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa, and the new Fitbit Sense, though it might not be available yet for all markets. The company does warn users that it isn’t intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions but to give wearers more of a general idea about the current state of their health.