Yes, there are some smartwatches that are designed to monitor blood sugars through third-party apps. No smartwatches have yet received full FDA clearance to officially monitor blood sugar and make treatment recommendations.
Statistics indicate that approximately 422 million people globally have diabetes. As a diabetic, you should keep an eye on your glucose levels to make crucial decisions like the right amount of insulin to use and what foods to eat.
With that in mind, today, you can use a smartwatch to monitor your blood sugar levels and take diabetes management to the next level. Read on to learn more.
How Do Smartwatches Monitor Blood Sugar – Understanding CGM Sensors
Smartwatches that monitor blood sugar rely on a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor. Fundamentally, this technology allows people with the CGM feature to monitor blood sugar levels from their wrists.
Generally, most smartwatches available today can’t measure blood sugar by themselves. They tend to display readings from external blood sugar trackers and monitors. The latter have sensors that measure blood sugar levels from just under the skin in real time. Then, they send the readings to connected apps, which transfer the data to supported smartwatches.
The Science- A study on Google’s Fitbit
A new study reveals that Fitbit activity trackers may be able to foresee shifts in blood sugar regulation for adults living with prediabetes. The research highlights how technology corporations could possibly integrate diabetes monitoring capabilities into wearable devices.
According to biomedical engineering’s assistant professor based at Duke University, Jessilyn Dun:
“It kind of makes sense intuitively — more movement, more physical activity leads to overall better health, and better health is one of the factors behind improved glycemic control,.”
A new study published in NPJ Digital Medicine showed that Fitbit activity trackers could predict fluctuations in blood sugar levels and improve or worsen control in adults with prediabetes. Researchers led by Charudutt Patel built models using step count, heart rate, and other Fitbit data to forecast average blood glucose changes over 6 months. They found the predictions were most accurate using wrist-worn Fitbits compared to waist-worn ones.
Patel explains that generally more active people have better blood sugar control versus less active people with worse control. But Fitbits can capture subtle patterns in movement like the speed of steps that give a more detailed view of how physical activity influences blood glucose.
Other studies have also shown wearable device data can track and predict blood sugar, though levels should still be directly monitored through blood tests until more evidence proves the connections are robust enough to guide treatment.
This study was relatively small at under 200 prediabetic adults, so more research is needed in larger and more diverse populations. Still, technology companies see potential in expanding into blood sugar management features for consumer wearables like Apple Watches and Fitbit rings.
Apple has researched noninvasive glucose monitoring, Fitbit partnered with diabetes company LifeScan, and new smart rings aim to eventually monitor blood sugar. If proven accurate and reliable, wearables predicting blood sugar changes could enable people to get ahead of concerning health developments and improve digital preventive healthcare.
Smartwatches that Can Monitor Glucose Levels
Out of the millions of smartwatches sold annually, few have CGM features. Fewer still can help you monitor blood sugar levels correctly. We have reviewed countless gadgets and only found a couple that are super accurate. These include:
1. Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch is just as it sounds: a next-gen wearable with extraordinary features. First and foremost is continuous glucose monitoring. If you are one of the individuals who need help tracking and managing blood sugar levels, consider getting this smartwatch.
In Fitbit Sense, the Fitbit app makes blood sugar monitoring possible. The application allows you to log your health data from an external CGM meter and use the information to keep an eye on how your glucose levels change with time. While using the blood glucose tracking features in Fitbit, you can monitor blood sugar levels throughout the day and check how your body reacts to different foods, sufficient/ insufficient sleep, specific physical activities, etc.
2. Garmin Fenix 7
Samsung has cornered a large portion of the smartwatch market. Presently, this brand boasts 60 million+ active users. With that in mind, one of the most popular smartwatches this company offers is the Fenix 7, released in January 2022.
Like the Fitbit Sense, Garmin Fenix 7 can’t measure blood sugar directly. It simply aggregates and displays from a Dexcom CGM device. If you have this blood sugar monitor, you must download the Dexcom app for your smartwatch from Connect IQ. The specialized app will show you crucial details like your glucose levels for the last 3 years and help you determine the trend your health is taking.
Read Also: Are Fitness Trackers Private?
Various wearables available today have blood sugar monitoring features. But be careful; very few are accurate. If you need a smartwatch that can give you updated, correct readings of your glucose levels, try the Fitbit Sense or Garmin Fenix 7, which we’ve reviewed here.
As mentioned several times, most gadgets on the market display readings from an external CGM machine; they don’t measure blood sugar levels. But there’s one exception: the Huawei Watch 4. The device uses 10 predetermine health metrics to monitor the wearer’s blood sugar and detect if they are at risk of hyperglycemia.
However, the Huawei Watch 4 was released in mid-2023 (just a few weeks ago). So, we have yet to sample its accuracy. But it’s worth checking out. If you can get your hands on this device, try it out.