Apple Watch May Soon Track Blood Sugar

People with blood sugar concerns agree that pricking a finger for testing is irritating, inconvenient and sometimes painful. A new Apple Watch may make it a thing of the past.

Over the years, Apple Watches has gained many medical sensors. They can track arrhythmia and monitor ECG and AFib. They aren’t just a pedometer! They also track heart rate, oxygen levels, body temperature and more. Soon they may contain a noninvasive blood sugar reader that won’t require a prick to know the wearer’s blood sugar.

The Watch will use optical spectroscopy. It will shine a laser through the skin to measure the glucose in blood without it ever leaving the body. They have completed a “proof-of-concept” version of the Watch. That means it’s possible to do it, but they haven’t made any announcements about when they may release it. People who have seen the “proof-of-concept” device say it’s too large to be a practical Watch.

The capability may not be present in the Watch for years to come. Apple first bought RareLight, a company that worked on noninvasive blood sugar monitoring, in 2010. Presumably, they have been working toward this goal for a long time.

RareLight’s founder, Bob Messerschmidt, said the device would never have been possible if Apple hadn’t bought the company. He called the product “[Steve] Jobs’s vision of health care combined with technology.”

While this is exciting, we have questions. A top-of-the-line Apple Watch costs $800. How much will this new version cost? Will health insurance ever help cover the cost? Less expensive versions of the Watch sell for $250. But, if it contains lasers, it’s safe to assume that it will be pricy.

We also question how accurate the readings will be. How precise can it remain when it’s on your wrist day in and day out instead of in a lab? It’s not the same as a testing machine that you only take out at certain times. Would the sensors be accurate enough to trust, or would it be just a fun little feature that is vaguely accurate?

We won’t have answers to these questions for years. This is all speculation until Apple announces the Watch and presents it to the public. It’s thrilling to know it is in the works. It shows that testing isn’t stagnant — new technologies are possible, and changes are on the horizon.  

Banner image: Daniel Cañibano via Unsplash

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