Our cars have hyper-intelligent sensors to let us know if something has gone awry and they can even drive themselves on the highway. Your mechanic has a blueprint of your car and can access thousands of data points from the electronic on-board diagnostic devices.
Do you get daily feedback on how well your body’s running? Does your physician call up your body’s DNA blueprint? The answer for most of us is simply, no. But why not?
Clearly, there’s something wrong with this picture. Our cellular devices today are more powerful than the computer that sent men to the moon and back. Yet we only leverage existing wearables and basic apps to monitor our vital signs and lifestyle activities. Our annual check-ups have not changed since I graduated from the University of Toronto 30 years ago, rarely tracking and comparing our basic panel of blood work results.
In business, employees get paid to be proactive, to mitigate risks, and more recently to use data that is collected to see trends and develop predictive models using artificial intelligent software. In contrast, our healthcare system pays only for ‘sickcare’, is reactive, and invests little, if anything at all, to promote true proactive health.
While large health systems will take time to change, there’s nothing to prevent you from becoming far more proactive if you are willing to take the time and invest in your health. You can track insightful diagnostics about your health status. From this data, you can create a preventative strategy towards physical and mental wellness.
Here’s my list of what should be on your Health Scorecard’s dashboard:
1.Determine if you have abnormal metabolic syndrome markers, which increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Markers: waistline, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar.
2.Rather than waiting for blood sugar levels to become abnormal, warning signs of prediabetes are far more valuable. Markers: hemoglobinA1C, insulin.
3.Menopause and Andropause are phases in life, they’re not a disease. Proactive strategies include hormone replacement therapy to support symptoms, bone and muscle mass loss, and low libido. Markers: estrogen, testosterone, DHEA.
4.Nutrients are critical to healthy body functions. Not only is it important to know your essential nutrient levels, but also any food sensitivities that can increase inflammation. Markers: vitamin D, fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, ferritin, zinc, magnesium. Food antibodies levels.
5.Mental health begins by recognizing if your stress response is strained. Neurotransmitters, our brain chemicals, influence mood, depression and anxiety. Markers: cortisol, epinephrine, serotonin, GABA, dopamine.
6.Gut health is linked to mental health, as many ‘good’ gut bacteria fight off infection, promote digestion and produce hormones like serotonin, our happy hormone. Markers: stool gut biome.
7.Genetics comprise of many areas of study. It’s important to get our DNA blueprint and determine our predispositions and biological age. Markers: genome, telomere length.
8.The future includes epigenetics studies to determine how our genome is in fact being altered by our environment. Yes, our genes change their expression. It’s not a fixed blueprint.
Create your body’s health dashboard with experienced medical professionals focused on creating your personalized Health Scorecard, interpreting your results and most importantly, creating your unique Health Action Plan that will help you live a longer, and healthier life.
ELAINE CHIN, M.D., M.B.A. FOUNDER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER North American trailblazer in Precision Medicine. Founder of Executive Health Centre, a Medical Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic. Medical expert on CitylineTV and in Good Housekeeping Magazine’s GH Institute.