Whoop working towards features to monitor IBD Flareups

Whoop and IBD Flareups

Whoop Strap 3.0 has increasingly seen its popularity rise among both serious athletes as well as general health and fitness enthusiasts. Users swear by its gold standard metrics around Sleep, Recovery, and Strain.


One of these key metrics that Whoop engineers have been able to design is heart rate variability. The heart rate variability (HRV) is an important component of the  Whoop ‘Recovery’ set of metrics. 

Whoop and IBD Flareups

HRV measures the variation in time between each heartbeat.

Leading exercise physiologists agree that HRV is one of the most useful tools for determining optimal training loads.

Healthy behaviors like exercise, hydration, and proper nutrition, avoiding alcohol, and getting good quality sleep all have a positive impact on your heart rate variability.

And now, it appears that Whoop is also exploring the power of HRV in other areas of health applications.

The Whoop Strap is an important component in research studies and clinical trials for IBS

Researchers from Milton S Hershey Medical center (Penn State) are currently using the Whoop 3.0 strap for remote physiological monitoring to detect Inflammatory Bowel Disease flareups.

The newly announced clinical trial is a feasibility study aligned with the recent uptick in interest around telemedicine and remote physiologic monitoring.

According to Andrew Tinsley, Milton S Hershey Medical center, “Newer literature supports that depressed heart rate variability can correlate to disease flares such as heart failure exacerbations. 

We proposed that using remote physiologic monitoring in the IBD population along with their symptoms can help predict disease severity and potentially lead to earlier interventions if correlations are accurate. It can also spark interest in the younger generation for remote physiologic monitoring and telemedicine, which is believed to be beneficial in patients with chronic illnesses.”

With the aid of the Pittsburgh Quality Sleep Index (PSQI), there has been proof that patients with active disease have poor sleep quality compared to their counterparts with IBD patients, in general, having worse sleep cycles as compared to healthy individuals [Sobolewska-Wlodarczyk, 2018; Ananthakrishnan, 2013].

Researchers hypothesize that disruption of the circadian system actually increases the release of inflammatory cytokines and immune activation. These markers play a critical role in chronic inflammatory diseases.

A recent study conducted found the efficacy of Whoop’s sleep monitoring system to be one of  the best and in line with results when compared with polysomnography.

This well-publicized study was reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

But …there is more to HRV and Respiratory rates than just calculating optimal training loads.

Whoop Respiratory rate feature

This was recently evident from Whoop’s literature around COVID- 19.

One of the Whoop users interviewed for the segment, Brian, found that his HRV crashed on the morning of his first full day of COVID symptoms. 

The other metric that was off was his Respiratory rate.

Will the Whoop Strap help with personalized disease management?

Whoop has also embarked on a study with Cleveland Clinic and CQ University to investigate respiratory rate patterns and relationship to COVUD-19 symptoms.

Research shows that using HRV for disease diagnosis works!

Studies showed that heart rate variability is useful to discriminate cardiac autonomic neuropathy in a person with diabetes.

Whoop is already working with Andrew Tinsley & team from Penn State to evaluate the device to detect Resident Wellness and Burnout.

Real-time physiologic metric tracking, such as resting heart rate (RHR) and heart rate variability (HRV), in addition to accurate sleep tracking, could provide a far more accurate and objective assessment of resident wellness.

We fully expect the Whoop team under Will Ahmed’s leadership to surprise and delight us with more personalized disease management offerings in the future!

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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