- Apple Watch Series 8 is coming on September 16 with a slew of new health features.
- Women’s reproductive health is emphasized in the updated model, with improved ovulation and menstruation tracking capabilities.
- Series 8 will also feature upgraded AFib monitoring as well as improved sleep and medication tracking.
The new Apple Watch Series 8, available on September 16, will include new features that emphasize key aspects of health.
At an Apple Event last week, Apple announced the new features for the Watch including temperature sensing capabilities for ovulation, enhanced period tracking tools, an atrial fibrillation (Afib) monitor, a medication tracker, detailed sleep tracking, and an enhanced workout app.
Women’s reproductive health is at the core part of the Apple Watch Series 8. The new temperature tracking tools and enhanced cycle tracking features are designed to help people gain more insights into their ovulation and menstrual cycles, which may be beneficial for those who are family planning.
Combined with the other health features, health experts say the new features for the Watch will help people track their overall health and wellness.
“The new health features are an extremely great addition to the Apple watch,” Dr. Nikhil Warrier, a cardiac electrophysiologist and medical director of electrophysiology at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center, told Healthline.
“These allow [people] access to great diagnostic applications with the AFib history, sleep monitoring, and, with the addition of medication tracker, can lead to increased adherence, which will overall have a positive impact.”
Apple Watch Series 8: New women’s health features
The Apple Watch Series 8 will include temperature sensation capabilities to help users track ovulation.
During ovulation, body temperature fluctuates due to changing hormones.
People who are trying to conceive typically track ovulation temperature increases manually with a thermometer and record it for a few menstrual cycles, explained Dr. Monte Swarup, a board-certified OB-GYN in Chandler, AZ, and founder of HPD Rx.
The Apple Watch Series 8 sensors, which measure changes in temperature as small as 0.1° C, will identify cyclical patterns and predict when ovulation will begin.
The updated period tracking tool will detect cycle irregularities and deviations to potentially help people and their healthcare professionals identify signs and symptoms of reproductive health conditions including:
“The more information I have about timing, severity of cycles, and cycle-based information, the more useful [it is] for us to try and help with issues,” Swarup said.
“Apps, phones, watches, etc. — any tool that can help store information could help with this.”
Enhanced heart, sleep, and medication tracking
Apple aims for its technology to support users’ health.
For instance, the new iOS 16, which was released on September 12, includes upgraded medication and cycle tracking capabilities within the Health app and allows users to share their health data if they choose.
With iOS 16, all Apple Watch users will be able to track their heart rate and sleeping respiratory rate while asleep within the iPhone Health app as well.
Of course, Apple Watch Series 8 also has a few standout features that will help users more closely monitor their health data to improve overall health and wellness.
Apple Watch Series 8 will help people diagnosed with arterial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of irregular heartbeat, to see how frequently their heart rhythm approaches Afib.
Watch Series 8 will allow users to identify lifestyle factors that may continue to AFib, such as sleep patterns, alcohol use, and exercise.
According to Dr. Shephal Doshi, a cardiac electrophysiologist and director of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, it’s crucial for individuals with AFib to regularly monitor their heart rhythm.
“The Apple Watch and other rhythm monitoring devices are instrumental in helping us understand if a [person] is having more arrhythmia,” Doshi told Healthline.
According to Warrier, heart monitors can help doctors determine the effectiveness of AFib treatment and access any risks of recurrence.
Improved sleep monitoring
Watch Series 8 will include enhanced sleep tracking capabilities that will be available with the release of Watch OS 9 this fall.
The sleep tracking upgrades will utilize accelerometer and heart rate sensors to help users track when they are in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, core sleep, and deep sleep.
A new medication tracker for Series 8 will allow users to set up lists, schedules, and reminders to help them manage their medications.
Past research shows that medication adherence is an issue for many people, especially those who take multiple medications.
“Specifically with birth control pills, better adherence to the regimen diminishes unexpected and unwanted bleeding and maximizes the effect of the pills,” Swarup said.
Forgetting to take medications can impact health outcomes as well.
For example, when people with chronic health conditions forget to take their medications, their health outcomes may decline and their risk of hospital admission and mortality can increase.
“Having a wearable device to manage a patient’s medication will likely lead to increased adherence if patients wear their device throughout the day,” Warrier said.
The new Apple Watch Series 8 contains several new health features, a few of which are geared toward women’s health.
Temperature tracking and an enhanced cycle tracking tool will help women track their ovulation and menstruation cycles to assist with family planning and help to identify irregularities in their reproductive health.
Improved health features will also include new sleep, heart rhythm, and medication tracking capabilities.
With user health data at the core of Apple’s technology, the tech giant states that user data privacy is still a top priority.
According to Apple, a person’s health data is encrypted on their device and is only accessible with a passcode or touch or facial identification, to ensure privacy remains secure.
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