I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of writing blog posts about myself and my thoughts. However, this one might help you to have a less toxic lifestyle. I do not intend to offend any professionals or products; it is solely my opinion and experience.
A little bit about my background: I used to play badminton and table tennis on a very high professional level in Germany and people always wondered how I managed to do such things with my body type. I am not a fat person (people who know me personally, will start laughing if I tell them that I am fat). I am exactly the opposite and very skinny. If you look at my Body Mass Index (it always fluctuated around 16.5, but now I am around 18.6), some doctors were even claiming how can this dude survive with so many sports. Well, I have to admit I was feeling very healthy and had great achievements. The outward appearance was a bit scary, not going to lie. Look at my amazing picture now, I look like a model, just kidding. I still love the analogy from some people, they referred to me as the rubber stick, because I am fairly tall for an Indian (181cm) and also very flexible. You get tons of suggestions on how to look healthier. The general Indian attitude was like: you have to eat more ghee (fat); you have to eat more proteins; you have to take these supplements. To be honest, at the age of 16, I was very naïve and tried many things and the results were meh. After a while, I stopped listening to those guys and was just in my flow. I played badminton and table tennis when I felt, even with small injuries and painkillers, because I loved that. At that age, I really felt immortal. I was practicing almost daily for 4-5h.
What is this Patch on my Arm?
10 years later, I am 100% sure that playing with injuries and painkillers was not the best thing, however, I was feeling healthier back then. I would claim that I was less stressed and worried about things. For data science dudes, here is a research paper for you (link). Stress seems to be the main driver for developing diseases. The best example is Type II diabetes, which is running in my family and almost everyone has it. We have those fancy continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices at home. If you are looking for such a device, check out Abbott FreeStyle Libre III. It is a cool gadget for diabetes patients. It is a piece of plastic with a needle. You have to stick it to your triceps for two weeks and it will tell you the skin sugar in real-time which is usually 15min delayed from your actual blood sugar. In India, there are companies such as Ultrahuman, and HealthifyMe who are providing the same product (Abbott Freestyle Libre II or III, depending on the availability, I guess) but with a more beautiful User Interface and some extra services. Outside of India, I would most probably go for the original one or if you are keen on branding stuff, then check out Supersapiens.
Would, I personally buy this thing? Hello no, if I do not have any condition. Even my family is annoyed with those CGMs. It bothers you when you sleep. People ask you all the time what this device is when you are wearing t-shirts. They instantly know that you are a diabetic patient and you have to explain all the time the story. For a diabetic patient, I would clearly say it is valuable. Without a condition, spending 60$ every second week seems to be a bit intense. You would do it as a gimmick once or twice, but it is way too expensive if insurance is not covering the costs.
Information overload through Health Gadgets
I have experimented with many things. My nature is quite curious, I have to admit. I bought a smartwatch, adjusted to health monitoring, stole one CGM from my dad – sorry Dad and started tracking everything. I heard biohackers (check out the post about biohackers) were using tons of gadgets to monitor health and optimize their lifestyle. People who know me, I love to optimize everything in my life. From a data monitoring perspective, all those fancy gadgets are amazing. They give you real-time data about your pulse, glucose, sleeping patterns, stress level, etc. However, those things were causing more anxiety than relief I have to say. I was always tensed when my pulse or sugar was not in balance. It felt like, I am creating sin and cos waves. The vibration every 15min on my wrist and push notifications on my phone was not helping either. I could definitely not concentrate and was constantly staring at my smart gadgets. There is a thing about overstimulation. If you are a health fanatic, those things might be helpful. However, for an average consumer who “just” wants to live healthily, you do not need constant monitoring. Even professional sportsmen do not need that. The end of the story is that I gave up after 2 weeks. I am certain that my sugar level and mineral level were better, however, was I feeling a difference? I do not think so. Actually, it was a bit the opposite, I have to say.
Generic Experience with Doctors
Generally, if we have a certain medical condition, we go to the doctor and he prescribes some medicines and after a few days, we are back alive. I have honestly, mixed feelings about our health system and doctors. I would like to tell a story. I had Covid symptoms in India and tested myself with those rapid tests and it was positive. I went to the doctor and told him that I have covid. He prescribed me some antibiotics and painkillers. The go-to medicine in India is Dolo 650 (Paracetamol). If you have any symptoms, they will prescribe you Dolo 650. The doctor did not even check and start prescribing. I asked him, why do I need antibiotics. He was like, this will kill your coronavirus. I knew that antibiotics do not work with viruses and a virus is already dead. I also told him to check my mucus, since it was not yellow or green. It was translucent. If I would have a bacterial infection, I would be totally fine with antibiotics. He was really mad at me and showed me the door with the prescription. To summarize, I did not take the antibiotics but the painkillers for my sore throat when needed and I was fine after 3 days. I asked my surroundings whether it is really like that with doctors in India. Most of them do not listen to your pain points. They superficially check and do not have a proper track of records. If the case is severe, they admit you to a hospital and start doing the proper treatment. Transparency and the doctor-patient relationship are completely missing. I am not saying all doctors are like that, however, the majority do not want to give you enough time. We all know that if the input data is faulty then the classification is also faulty. We are talking about people’s life. It is a small shout-out to the doctors, you are doing an amazing job in helping people and I know you are super busy, however, it would be great, if you put the phone on emergency mode and listen to what we have to say. More transparency, and more data results in better classification.
Action/Reaction vs Preventative Approach
Getting a hint about the disease at an early stage is very valuable and some diseases are preventable. Especially when you are getting older, you realize that you are not immortal. You are more prone to diseases. Environmental and genetic factors start triggering. The idea of PreGenic Solutions has many layers for me. It provides you with transparency and gives you more insights into your body. It is also very helpful for doctors if they have another piece of information when they have to classify certain conditions. From a technical point of view, it is best when you get this one-time test done as early as possible because you can start tailoring your lifestyle in order to postpone diseases or even prevent those. Let’s be honest, I would also not spend 9499INR (approx. 115$) for such a test in my twenties unless a doctor would prescribe it – I know my greedy Marwari Baniya Genes trigger from time to time. We as humans need always some sort of validation from a person who has a certain degree or social status. There is a big “but”, if you have developed a lethal condition, it is usually too late. Your mind starts thinking, how could I have prevented that in my life and I am speaking from my personal experience (Write me on LinkedIn, if you want to know the story). Blood tests, MRIs, and CT scans can only reveal the current state; however, a prediction is quite difficult. We need to check all three factors. The current lifestyle, environment, and genetics as a combination give an accurate prediction. If you look at our current healthcare system, we are following an action/reaction approach. If you have some severe symptoms, you go to the doctor, but this is too late. We are trying to change the mindset of people and trying to explain, become more proactive, and not solely rely on others’ opinions. You have the power to take the steps. Here at PreGenics, we will support you on this journey. If you consider that we are offering a one-time test where we screen 204 diseases/traits at once with genetic counseling and genetic raw data, this deal is more than fair. We know that the results could be overwhelming and you might be overstimulated, but hey, we are here to support you and optimize your lifestyle. We all want to live healthier and reduce our stress levels. Sometimes small hints in your life, bring big chances and I am pretty sure all of you experienced such things.
Easy to implement Lifehacks in your daily life - I can promise
From my point of view, I know bringing lifestyle changes is super difficult to your daily. Therefore, I have some tools and tricks which are easy to implement but the effect is enormous. When you are working long hours on your PC and staring all time on your mobile phone, please install blue light filter apps. I use the software f.lux, which is an easy fix for everyone (hardly takes 2mins to install), and blue light filter glasses, which is a more advanced tool (in Europe, your employer covers the cost – in Jaipur I know Khanna Opticals who produce high-quality blue light filter glasses). It will improve your sleeping quality, productivity, and eyesight significantly. Your eyes will stop burning. If you want more information on how light affects our stress level and health, drop Peter Veto a message. The second life hack which I follow is, to have a water bottle next to my screen. Every time, I see my water bottle, I think of drinking water. We need to be triggered constantly to perform an action. It is a reminder to finish the water bottle. We tend to drink only a few glasses of water during the day, which is usually not enough. It is suggested to drink at least 8 cups of water for an average person aka 2litres. I am not going to list all the benefits of drinking water, I am pretty sure, you are aware of those. The last hack is sports and meditation. I know going to the gym or meditation is super tough. Once you are in the gym, you feel amazing, isn’t it? The only struggle is to go to the gym. I have set a reminder at 6 pm for every day. In the beginning, I switched off the alarm, because “some” other things were more important than the gym and neglected it. There is a small lifehack how that can trick your brain. Start counting down from 3 and tell your brain that you will stand up and go to the gym when you reach number 1. Trust me, it will work! For Meditation, just do it directly after you wake up since the barrier of getting things done is the lowest. Put a sticky note on your alarm or table, which reminds you to meditate. It is enough if you meditate for 3mins every day. Papers suggest 10-30min is the optimal duration, however, 3min has already strong benefits. I know, it is super difficult to focus on your breathing. A simple technique is to count when you breathe in and increment the number when you breathe out. It does not matter how you are sitting or where you are. You can also meditate with open eyes in a chair. The only requirement is that you should try not to move and be fully relaxed. I can recommend this book Mindfulness in Plain English. You feel less stressed, calm, and more energetic after each session.
All these techniques are very helpful when you want to reduce stress. As we learned, stress is the driving cause of many diseases.