Next Apple and Samsung smartwatches could feature non-invasive blood glucose monitoring

midian182

Posts: 6,648   +59
Staff member
Forward-looking: As smartwatches' health-focused features become increasingly advanced, could the next step in the evolution of these devices be non-invasive blood glucose monitoring? According to recent reports, both Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 (or Galaxy Watch Active 3) and the Apple Watch 7 will be able to display a wearer's blood sugar levels using an optical sensor, which, assuming they're accurate, would be a cause for celebration for the 415 million people living with diabetes.

Conditions such as type 1 diabetes, which affects this writer, require checking blood glucose levels many times every day. It usually involves pricking a finger using a lancet and placing a drop of blood in a glucose meter—a process that causes marks, hardens skin, and can be uncomfortable.

Alternatively, there are constant glucose monitors (CGMs). These small devices contain a flexible, wire-like needle that is fired into the skin. They stay on a wearer for around 10 days, sending blood glucose data to a smartphone or smartwatch every few minutes. CGMs are able to warn diabetics when their blood glucose levels are going dangerously low or high while being much more convenient than finger pricking. But the need to replace them several times each month means they're costly. CGMs are also easy to knock off the skin, can be very itchy, and sometimes bleed.

Korean media claims that the next smartwatches from both Samsung and Apple will feature optical glucose monitors, which work by shining a light through the skin to measure levels continuously. Apple reportedly hired a biomechanical engineer team in 2017 to work on the feature, while Samsung developed a glucose-monitoring method last year called Raman spectroscopy that uses lasers to identify chemical compositions.

On a personal level, these features sound amazing, but their appeal to diabetics will depend on the accuracy. Even invasive CGMs, which measure the glucose in fluid surrounding a body's cells—called interstitial fluid—aren't always 100 percent correct, so it's hard to imagine an optical sensor being as accurate as finger pricking, but here's hoping.

The Apple Watch 7 and next Galaxy smartwatches are expected to arrive later this year.

Masthead image credit: VI Studio

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,705   +5,106
Health Insurances actually pay for Smartwatches (applewatches) in some cases - thanks to Apple sharing data with doctors.

I believe there are many patients who wouldn't mind having an implant in their body that transmits data to a Glucose scanner, of for nothing more than to avoid having to use lancets to check their Glucose through the day. Some of them already have a implant/ meter.
 

mctommy

Posts: 388   +119
Awesome! Now I can get the boss wife to approve for a new apple watch. Got a free 2nd gen one from my old work but haven't felt the need to update since.
Health Insurances actually pay for Smartwatches (applewatches) in some cases - thanks to Apple sharing data with doctors.

I believe there are many patients who wouldn't mind having an implant in their body that transmits data to a Glucose scanner, of for nothing more than to avoid having to use lancets to check their Glucose through the day. Some of them already have a implant/ meter.

Totally agree. The big question is how accurate these will be. At the very least, it should provide people an option rather than the standard lancets, or the 2-3x a month CGM.
 

R3ckless

Posts: 7   +7
I use a eversense meter everyday and have for over a year now. The sensor sits under my skin and tosses a reading to my on skin transmitter. That then tosses the reading to my phone every 5 mins. It is always very accurate and lines up within 1 to 2 glucose units of my finger stick. The sensor is good for 90 days and when that time is up a quick 5 mins procedure to insert a new one with a certified dr. (for a small 4mm incision for insertion keeps me going.

Accuracy has helped me achieve far better results since I have begin using it. It is far more accurate then others I have used (freestyle etc) I just wish more people would try it out. Supply issues have been the issue since I have gotten it.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Apple has reported been testing a very effective watch on the wrist of the CEO for a number of years now but they have yet to field it any further. I've been a diabetic for over 10 years and have read a number of articles promising these kinds of results but as of yet the one's out there are prohibitively expensive (based upon the makers profits, not the cost of production) or ridiculously limiting (tests have proven the Freestyle monitor can easily last 6 months, but they cut it off (via internet & your phone) in a month of less just to force you into buying more sensors.

This is just one of many things I wish the new administration would address. By giving Medicare & the VA the right to negotiate prices we would see many medical devices and prescription drugs drop by more than half, if not more. The free enterprise system never expected groups of companies to get together and fix pricing without fear of legal reprisal.

Unless that day comes, more and more people suffer at the hands of the greedy and more and more people die early because they can't get the care they deserve at a reasonable price they can afford.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,778   +3,984
@midian182 Having the condition myself, I suggest using 33g lancets if you they will work for you. They work for me, but I do not have hardened skin - and I have been testing about seven times a day for probably at least six years now. ADW Diabetes Warehouse Has boxes of 100, 33g lancets for $1.07 and other supplies for equally amazing prices - far less than the "official" pharmacies :rolleyes: that my insurance "offers."

For me, CGM is outrageously expensive even through a place like ADW. Personally, I would rather have a non-invasive BG monitor that is not bound to a smart watch.

BTW - I am not a doctor, nor am I an employee of ADW. And, of course, what works for me might not work for you.

EDIT: Accuracy for a BG monitor, is critical, IMO.
 
Last edited:

Reehahs

Posts: 1,161   +796
As long as they are calibratable against the standard blood glucose testing device, it shouldn't be an issue unless in extreme cases.
 

Mugsy

Posts: 714   +139
My 79yo father uses a Freestyle Libre CGM. It lasts a full 14 days, but I've long wondered about it's accuracy (readings fluctuate about +/- 10 points every few seconds.) He must use the separate "reader" device b/c he's not mentally fit enough to manage his glucose via Smart Phone.

A "needle-free" watch that he simply wears and transmits its reading to a phone would be nice b/c that data could be sent to me at home or even a home-care nurse.

Next big advance we need: Insulin eye-drops (or in pill form.)