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Discovering tomorrow's global healthtech trends today

Wellue SleepU: Track Blood Oxygen Levels Overnight

People with health conditions such as COPD, asthma and sleep apnea are at risk for hypoxia, or low blood oxygen levels, during sleep, but waking or even changing position can help. The Wellue SleepU is a new wearable device designed to monitor blood oxygen saturation and other important metrics such as heart rate and body movement continuously through the night, and alert users with a vibrating alarm when oxygen levels drop too low.

What Causes Low Oxygen Levels During Sleep?

The body depends on oxygen for survival. With every breath, oxygen enters our lungs and travels from there into the bloodstream, where it nourishes cells and supports their growth.  Healthy people are generally able to maintain the level of blood oxygen needed to function normally. But under some circumstances, oxygen levels in the blood are lower than normal–a condition called hypoxia. That can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms including headaches, shortness of breath and dizziness.

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  • Common health conditions that raise the risk of low blood oxygen levels include:
  • Lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, COPD or emphysema
  • Some heart conditions and defects
  • Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing intermittently stops during sleep
  • Anemia, or a low number of the red blood cells that carry oxygen
  • Inflammation or scarring in lung tissues from conditions like pulmonary fibrosis
  • Medications and recreational drugs that slow breathing and cause drowsiness

Symptoms of hypoxemia can include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a rapid or unusually slow heart rate, sweating or coughing. Lips and fingers can turn a bluish color, or sometimes bright red. Because the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, hypoxemia can also cause confusion.

Normal blood oxygen levels during sleep are in the range of 95 to 100, and a blood oxygen saturation below 92 indicates hypoxemia. The lower the reading, the greater the risk of serious impairment or even death from insufficient oxygen. Blood oxygen levels are usually measured with a pulse oximeter—a small device that attaches to a finger and uses pulses of light to detect levels of oxygen bearing red cells in the bloodstream.

To regulate oxygen intake overnight, many people with sleep apnea and other breath related conditions use CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, machines, which consists of a mask or nosepiece attached to a machine that pushes air through the nose. This stops the pauses in breathing that cause dips in oxygen saturation.

But in other situations, simply changing position or briefly waking up can help to raise low oxygen levels. The Wellue SleepU offers a safe and comfortable system for alerting sleepers to changes in blood oxygen levels – a pulse oximeter, health tracker, and alert system all in one.

How Does the Wellue SleepU Work?

The Wellue SleepU wearable tracker is a compact device that’s worn on the wrist, with a linked sensor that fits over a wearer’s finger. When worn through the night, it records blood oxygen saturation, heart rate and body movements every second while a wearer sleeps. When the SleepU’s sensors detect that blood oxygen levels are low, it triggers a silent alarm that vibrates to alert the wearer.

The Wellue SleepU has built in memory, so it can work without a smartphone. It comes with the ViHealth downloadable app for Android and iOS, plus free O2 Insight software for desktop PCs and Mac computers, so users can chart trends in important metrics like O2 saturation and heart rate, and share them with their healthcare team.

The SleepU features a ring sensor that fits comfortably over a finger, which makes it more comfortable to wear than hospital-style “duckbill” oximeters that are placed on the fingertip. Users can set the vibration levels and thresholds through the accompanying ViHealth app.  For those who already use CPAP technology to maintain a steady airflow, the SleepU monitor can help determine whether the CPAP is working effectively.

How Much Does the Wellue SleepU Cost?

The SleepU sells for $168USD from the Wellue website, and includes the accompanying apps and software at no extra cost. The SleepU comes with a user guide and micro USB cable for uploading the device’s collected data to the mobile ViHealth app or its desktop counterparts. The SleepU doesn’t require a prescription or physician’s recommendation.

Alternatives to the SleepU

The SleepU is one of several nighttime oxygen monitors available without a prescription. Other options include:

Masimo Sleep from Masimo Personal Health features a hospital-style  fingertip pulse oximeter that can be worn for up to seven nights. Along with continuously measuring oxygen levels, the Masimo Sleep also tracks pulse and respiration rates, and the accompanying app allows users to get reports and share data with their healthcare team.

The Go2Sleep smart ring is designed to help people with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders track a variety of metrics including oxygen levels, movement during sleep and heart rate. The Go2Sleep also has a unique feature called the Apnea-Hypopnea Index, which measures sleep apnea severity by tracking the number of pauses in breathing (apnea) and episodes of shallow breathing (hypopnea) that occur every hour during sleep.

The Belun Ring from Belun Tech is a smart ring that measures oxygen saturation, pulse rate and motion during sleep. It also records autonomic nervous system responses and tracks respiratory events such as episodes of apnea. It comes with an app that can generate comprehensive sleep reports that can be shared with healthcare professionals.

What People Are Saying About Wellue SleepU

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Reviews of the SleepU device are generally positive. Users like the silent vibrating alert that doesn’t disturb other sleepers, and say that it’s comfortable and doesn’t interfere with sleep. Some users like the fact that the SleepU can work with their CPAP machine or other breathing treatments. Negatives include problems installing or working with Wellue’s apps and software, and difficulty getting replacement cables or other service from the Wellue company.

Even if you’re already using CPAP systems or other breathing support, the SleepU can act as a reliable partner for tracking oxygen levels, respiration rates, and more. With an array of FDA-approved features, the SleepU can help people with a variety of respiratory conditions get a good night’s sleep.

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