No matter what suggestions I make to try to improve your body and mental health (or the many other good sources of information and inspiration) it is nice to get some feedback on if your health is improving. You can use your subjective measurement of how you feel – which might be the most important, but it is also useful to have some concrete measurements than you can follow your progress.
All the hot buzz is personal health measurement centers around personal genomics, but in general your DNA does not change (mutations changes your genome and there are epigenetic changes (e.g. methylation). Therefore, you can’t use your genome as a measure of your changing health.
In a series of post I will discuss the many current cheaper and highly useful (predictive) measurements of your personal health you can use today. I will be concentrating on tests that are easy to implement and give a good bang for the buck.
Heart rate (self measurement or a heart rate monitor: low end $ 0.00, median $100, upper end $ 400)
Blood pressure ($ 50 – 100)
Physical aerobic ability
VO2 max (general fitness): done at exercise lab, but can do various approximate tests at home.
Body fat burning ability at different levels of exertion (approx $ 250 ? see Alan Couzens and his colleagues: Gordo Byrn, Matt Steinmetz )
General body fat level not as good health predictor as visceral fat
(Tanita scales are the most popular: $100. )
Visceral body fat (DEXA scan: $125 -300 each scan)
Glucose (blood glucose meters: cheap or free but pay per test for strips)
Cholesterol: New home devices can measure cholesterol (approx $ 100)
Cholesterol, HDL/LDL (CardioChek PA: approx $ 550, might be new alternatives)
C-reactive protein (CRP): no home test at this time.
IL-6: no home test at this time.
This is a first basic level of measurements that you can test and more importantly retest. Most of them you can do at home repeatedly (notable exception at this time is the inflammatory markers). The optimal test would be easy to perform, high reliability, and cheap so you can test many times. Additionally, no one test is the best measurement of ‘health’, so multiples test would give you a more accurate measurement of your health.
Tomorrow, hopefully I will concentrate on one of the simplest which is heart rate. There are multiple measurements that you take and get some predictive clinically tested health measurements.