OnePlus' first wearable has everything that you would expect from a "regular" fitness tracker, including step counting, workout monitoring and a heart rate sensor, but what makes it really special is the presence of a dedicated blood oxygen sensor.
It is one of the most vital components for our existence. And keeping track of it could make a difference between being healthy and well, not being there at all. We are talking of blood oxygen. Simply explained, it refers to the amount of oxygen in your blood. It is also referred to as SpO2 or oxygen saturation. Speaking technically, it is a measure of the amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood relative to the amount of hemoglobin not carrying oxygen.
A matter of blood and breathing
The oxygen we breathe in is carried from the lungs to other parts of the body by red blood cells. Just how well this oxygen is distributed in your body is shown by the oxygen level, or the SpO2 or oxygen saturation level. The body of course requires a certain level of oxygen in the blood to be able to function efficiently. If it does not get this oxygen, well, things start to go very wrong indeed, with consequences that could even be fatal.
A fall in blood oxygen levels can lead to what is known hypoxemia, which indicates that the person’s body is not being able to get oxygen to cells, tissues and organs. And this can lead to some very severe repercussions, especially at a time when the body needs extra oxygen. In most cases, a blood oxygen level of below 90 per cent (some even say 95 per cent) can be a matter of serious concern. This can often happen at higher altitude and when one is undertaking physical exertion, or if one suffers from breathing related issues. This is why we start breathing more heavily – we simply need more oxygen. Even thinking too much can make your body demand more oxygen
COVID and the attack on oxygen levels
And now a new factor has been added to the list – COVID. Yes, the pandemic that has been ravaging the world for almost a year now, can result in a significant dip in your blood oxygen levels. The dangerous part is that in some cases, this can happen without people even realising it – they do not seem to experience any evident or visible shortness of breath. Many are labelling this “silent hypoxemia” and it is considered extremely dangerous.
Which is why keeping an eye on your blood oxygen levels is extremely important, and even more so in these pandemic-hit times. One could invest in an Oximeter or go to a doctor for a check-up for this purpose. However, the problem with these approaches is that they are episodic in nature – you get it checked when you go to the doctor, or when you attach the Oximeter to your finger. It is quite possible that your blood oxygen levels are at a reasonable level when you checked them, but dip at other times, say, even when you are asleep.
The OnePlus Band – not just about fitness, but health too
Which is where the OnePlus Band comes into the equation. OnePlus’ first wearable has everything that you would expect from a “regular” fitness tracker, including step counting, workout monitoring and a heart rate sensor, but what makes it really special is the presence of a dedicated blood oxygen sensor. The first fitness band in the Indian market with such a feature, it your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level via red and infrared light sensors. Powerful hardware and intelligent algorithms then combine to monitor SpO2 levels to quickly highlight potential problems.
The best part is that unlike a one-off check with an Oximeter or a visit to the doctor, the OnePlus Band can be programmed to monitor your blood oxygen continuously round the clock, even while you are asleep. You do not need a doctor or a special instrument, all you need is your trusty fitness band, which many people wear all the time anyway. And with battery life that is close to two weeks, you will not need to worry about it running out of charge. Of course, if you wish you can just raise your wrist and select the option to check your blood oxygen at a particular moment as well – the band will continue recording in the background too. The large 1.1 inch AMOLED screen will show you the information on the spot, and if you want more detailed information over time, it is available on the OnePlus Health app on your phone!
In short, at a time when monitoring SpO2 levels is more important than ever, the OnePlus Band empowers you to not just live a healthier and fitter life but also to keep an eye on one of its most important parameters – SpO2 – alerting you to any problems that might occur, without needing any additional equipment. And at Rs 2,499, it is actually less expensive than some Oximeters out there.