Oura launches two new heart health features

Smart ring maker Oura is launching two new features focused on heart health, the company announced on Friday. The first claims to help users get an idea of their cardiovascular age, while the second feature aims to estimate their cardio capacity. Depending on a person’s results, Oura will offer strategies on how to sleep, move, and de-stress better.

The new features shouldn’t be used to replace actual healthcare and regular check-ups with a doctor, and users should see a medical professional for an actual diagnosis if they are concerned about something. Oura itself notes that an Oura Ring is not a medical device and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, monitor, or prevent medical conditions/illnesses.

The new “Cardiovascular Age” feature claims to help users understand their cardiovascular age relative to their chronological age. The idea is to help identify behaviors that could positively impact their lifespan. For instance, if a user has a Cardiovascular Age higher than their chronological age, they might see a message that reads: “Your cardiovascular age is currently above your actual age. Don’t worry, many things can cause this. One of the best remedies is movement.” Of course, you would also want to consult with a doctor.

After a person has used the Oura App for at least two weeks, they will see a Cardiovascular Age metric that indicates if they are trending below, above, or in alignment with their chronological age. Again, results should be verified by an actual doctor.

“Oura gauges Cardiovascular Age by analyzing age-related observations within a photoplethysmograph (PPG) signal, which carries information about estimated arterial stiffness and pulse wave velocity (PWV),” the company explained in a blog post. 

The “Cardio Capacity” feature is based on an estimation of VO2Max, which is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use during intense or effortful exercise. For context, the better a person’s cardio capacity, the healthier their cardiovascular system will likely be across their lifetime. 

Oura says that with the launch of this feature, it’s seeking to reposition VO2Max from a sports metric to a benchmark of lifespan. An estimation of VO2Max reveals how well a person’s heart, lungs, blood vessels, muscles, and nervous system all work together, Oura says.

To use this feature, Oura Members will be prompted to take a walking test to establish a baseline VO2Max that is translated to Cardio Capacity. 

“In partnership with board-certified cardiologists and scientists at research institutions like the Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine (KULTU) and the University of California, Los Angeles, along with ŌURA’s medical advisory board, we have rigorously developed our science and algorithms to ensure these features deliver accurate insights for ŌURA’s wide-ranging and diverse member base,” said Dr. Shyamal Patel, Oura’s senior vice president of science, in a press release. 

Oura says the goal of these two new features is to address health holistically, while helping users understand that each part of their physiology is intertwined, in the sense that a person’s cardiovascular age and cardio capacity have implications for multiple organ systems. 

Oura Cardiovascular Age and Cardio Capacity are rolling later this month and will be available on Oura Ring Gen3 devices on both Android and iOS.

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