According to an ongoing, large-scale UCSF study, your Apple Watch may be able to detect diabetes and prediabetes with 85% accuracy. Paired with the app Cardiogram, the watch detects diabetes by monitoring your heart rate variability, or the time interval between heartbeats. A high resting heart rate and slower heart rate recovery after exercise are considered indicators of diabetes and prediabetes. Similar studies have been performed to detect abnormal heart rhythm with 97% accuracy, sleep apnea with 90% accuracy, and hypertension with 82% accuracy.
Over 100 million Americans live with diabetes or prediabetes, and over a quarter of them are undiagnosed. The Cardiogram app can help detect diabetes early so you can work with your doctor to manage symptoms before they become severe. If caught soon enough, a diagnosis of prediabetes can even be reversed with the right food and exercise regimen.
The future of diabetes
The study is promising enough to justify further testing. In addition to early diabetes detection, your Apple Watch may soon be able to help you manage your glucose levels as well. Apple is currently working with DexCom to create a noninvasive glucose sensor for integration in future Apple Watches that would measure glucose levels via a body sensor worn around the waist.