Google Your Health

I record my weight daily. Every morning, before I eat anything, I jump on the scale and feed the number to an app in my iPod. I like doing so because I can instantly tell what behaviors are affecting my weight. If I have a few beers and a late-night cheeseburger and/or wings with friends, it shows the next morning. If I spend a full day in karate class and get a good night’s sleep, it shows the next morning. A simple graph showed me trends as well, including a general increase over the winter and a general decrease over the summer.

When I got overzealous with an iOS update and lost a few months’ worth of data, including occasional waistline measurements and blood pressure entries, I was not a happy camper. I wanted a better way to track this stuff without having to resort to something labor-intensive like a spreadsheet or specialized software on my desktop. Also, I wanted something easier to back up, and accessible from more than just the iPod.

Enter Google Health.

Dr. Oz mentioned it in a Men’s Health article, recommending people use it to keep track of all of their medical data. I got curious and fired it up. Turns out, Google Health can be a repository for all of your medical data, from daily wellness tracking to medications to procedure and immunization histories. It can pull data from several other health record sources, and it can generate export files and printed summaries a user can take to a doctor.

And it makes neat little graphs, like this one that shows my nice, healthy glucose numbers:

Glucose Chart

So far, so good.

Now, I know some are skeptical of handing data to Google, but to be honest, I’m not worried about this data and I think the benefit outweighs the risk. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to text my wife from the doctor’s office because I couldn’t remember which cough medicine we gave one of the kids when they were sick or because I forgot to bring my vitamins and such along for my own checkups.

It’s the visual data that really sold me, though. I now have similar graphs for my weight and my cholesterol, and soon I will have a graph going for blood pressure. When my doctor shows me a small increase over two tests in my cholesterol, I can show him my overall trend from when we started testing me is down. If I see my overall weight trend is headed uphill, I can make tweaks to fix it.

I can access this data from my phone, my iPod, or any other web-enabled device, and I don’t have to back it up. I’ve only been using it for a week and I love it. It will be nice to go into the doctor’s office with no surprises, and fully prepared for all the nurse’s questions about my vitamins and medications.

And if something goes way wrong with my health, I’ve got instant clues.

Empower yourself. Get in there and check it out.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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