The Salubrity Index

Infographic of fitness and health indicators. Health and training

How Healthy Are You?

We’re putting together a program called the Salubrity Index to give you quantifiable values to assess your overall state of health.

It’s a strange thing about people, we never appreciate things when their functional, it’s only after they break do we begin to realize their value. Which is why quality IT people are so under-appreciated in this world.  As long as our bodies are meeting our needs, we never pay them any attention.  We abuse them, neglect them, feed them garbage and make little effort for maintenance.  Until one day, there’s a problem and then for a short span, we pay attention.  What we want to do here is help people maintain their bodies, and one of the keys to doing that is running diagnostics to determine if there are any problems ahead.

Know your Metrics

I love numbers, they’re like a reliable friend that you can always count on. They don’t lie and they’re a universal language in which we can all agree. In a former life I was a high school math teacher and most of my students, were mostly convinced, they hated numbers.  But I contend that people love math and numbers, even if they say the don’t.

My friends can rattle off all their fantasy football players stats, for every week, for all of their multiple fantasy teams.  Mom can tell me carb/fat ratios in everything that she eats.  My girlfriend can always tell me who has is offering what percentage of discounts for anything I need to buy.  Dad, although he can’t remember where he put his keys, can tell me the current prices of all his favorite stocks, and what they were when he bought and sold them from even decades ago.  It’s amazing that people can retain so much numerical information about the things that they care about.
But….
Nobody seems to have any idea what their own bio markers are.   Blood pressure numbers? How about lipid counts? Something as simple as your height/waist ratio? Nope. Maybe some know their weight within a few pounds, but it seems it’s the only metric people care about, and it’s mostly just for vanities sake. Sadly the scale is typically a poor indicator of overall health.  We can do better.

Quantifying our Health

The Salubrity Index is all about getting people to know their bio statistics. Understanding the numbers that tell them about their body, so they can make informed decisions about how to improve their metrics and realize the benefits of healthy living.

This index will take in a wide array of factors that can be determined by self assessment to get a data driven understanding of your overall health.

Understand that nothing you do at home can replace the value of going to a hospital and getting a full workup. This is not a replacement for getting a physical or checkup at a clinic/hospital by trained physicians. What we’re proposing is putting together a set of diagnostics that you can easily measure at home so you can have an ongoing system of metrics to evaluate your health by. Fortunately in this age of technology a lot of the tests that are run in doctor’s offices, can be run at home. So what we’re doing here is simply applying the Pareto Principle to our own diagnostics and collecting the most data we can for the least amount of effort/cost.

In an attempt to garner as much data as possible, I’ve broken data collection up into various categories based on ease of administration and usefulness of the data.

  1. No Tools Required
    You can get all these data points right now while you’re reading this.  You don’t need any tools to get these metrics.
  2. Beginner Basics
    These are basic stats that require some minor equipment, this set of metrics is a great baseline of bio markers.
  3. Advanced Targeted Arsenal
    These are typically more targeted tests that approach a smaller subset of data.  After you’ve got your basics, you’ll want to go through these and see which tests you feel are best for you.

As we gather up all the data, we can begin to gain a better assessment of your overall health.

Let’s get started…

 

No Tools Required

This list of personal tests are not only for gathering some information, but also to make you aware of all your body’s systems and all the things that are working right, that you may not be paying any attention to.

Things you’ll need before running through this gamut of tests:

  • Pen and Paper
  • Timer  (smartphone timer should be adequate)
  • Tape Measure
  • Plastic Spoon (preferred) or Metal Spoon
  • Clear Ziploc bag (big enough to put said spoon inside)

Strength and Balance

Sit-Up Capacity

Research has shown that sit-up capacity stands out as a mortality predictor.  The idea is that those with more muscle mass tend to have better insulin resistance.  This is an easy assessment and a good workout.

It’s simple, how many sit-ups can you do in one minute?

Sit-Up Averages
Age Men Woman
40’s 14 23
50’s 9 18
60’s 6 12

If you’re near or below these numbers, your muscle mass is probably in sufficient and you should make an effort to get some resistance training in your regimen.  Swimming is one the most effective fully body resistance workouts you can do that requires very little equipment.

 

Balance

The ability to balance is a large indicator for who is likely to have serious falls/accidents in the future.  This affects young and old alike.
It’s an easy test, just take off your shoes and balance on one foot, cross your arms and lift your leg to a 45 degree angle, for as long as you can.  5 seconds is the statistically significant indicator for older adults that separates those who are more likely to fall in the next 3 years.

Balance Test
Age #Sec Eyes Open #Sec Eyes Closed
18-39 43 9
40’s 40 7
50’s 37 5
60+ 27 3

If your balance is poor, there are both neurological and physical factors that could be a play.  You’ll find bodyweight routines like yoga or pilates can help strengthen your core and help with your overall balance.

Walking Speed

People who walk slow are 3x more likely to die from heart disease.  Walking speed is currently the most accurate way to determine which adults are at risk for falls.
Slow walkers = 26% higher chances of hospitalization and 50% higher mortality within 7 years.

Find a place where you can mark off a distance in meters, anything greater than 5 or 6 should be sufficient, and time how long it takes you to walk that distance.  You can walk as fast as you want, but you must not run or stride, meaning always one foot should be on the ground.

Take the # of Seconds / # of Meters and that gives your walking speed in meters per second.   1.5 meters per second is average and if you’re slower than that, then your risk increases.

Criss-Cross Apple Sauce

This test your overall strength and balance, in just 10 seconds.

Start off with 10 points. Cross your legs, squat down and sit down on the floor; then get back up. If any part of your body touches down, you lose a point for each touch, also subtract one point if you wobble.  Here’s a guide complete with pictures.

Every point you lose is a 21% increased risk in mortality in the next 6 years.  This study was done in individuals over 50, so for younger people that correlation is probably skewed. However, if you’re under 50 and score less than 8, you should really examine your lifestyle and make some changes.

 

Circulatory System

Palm Reading (a real fortune teller)

Iron deficiency is common among both women (due to menstruation blood loss) and those who abstain from eating meat.  Iron’s primary roll is to help your body transfer oxygen to all the cells in your body.  If you’re iron deprived, your cells are lacking oxygen and that causes fatigue, trouble focusing, irregular heart-beat and shortness of breath.

Fortunately, a quick glance at your palms or mouth can give you a good indication about your iron levels.  Simply spread you palm wide and look at the creases?  If they’re considerably pale, then you may be Anemic (low iron).  Other places to check are inside your gums or inside your eyelids.  These all have blood circulating close to the skin, so if the skin is pale, you’re probably low.

If you’re looking pale, and and suspect Iron deficiency, you can go to a clinic to run a hemoglobin or hematocrit test to check your iron levels.  If you’re hesitant to go to the clinic, you can run a hemoglobin test at home.  In the meantime you should make an effort to eat iron rich foods, leafy green vegetables and meats.  You can take an iron supplement, but you should probably find out your hemoglobin levels first before supplementation.  Over supplementing Iron causes as many issues as deficiency has, so be careful with supplementation.

The Pitter Patter of Your Heart

An irregular heartbeat is something that many people have but don’t realize.  A-Fib is dangerous because as blood pools in the heart due to the irregular rhythm, a clot can form, which causes strokes.

Some people have a constant irregular heartbeat, some come and go, and the later is harder to detect.  The easiest way to test your heart is simply to take your pulse and tap your foot to the rhythm of the beats.  Is it consistent, can you keep the rhythm or is it erratic?  Check it at multiple times of the day, and especially if you’re feeling a flutter.  If you’re noticing a flutter or an irregular pattern, you should see a doctor about it.  Sometimes it’s as easy fixed as ensuring you’re getting an adequate amount of electrolytes.

Pins and Needles
  • On your bed, lie on your back and use pillows/cushions to elevate both your legs to a elevate both your 45 degree angle.  Wait one full minute and then quickly move your legs to let them hang at a 90 degree angle off the side of the bed.  (basically touching the floor if you can reach it)
  • Wait 30 seconds and look at your legs.  If they are considerably more pale when elevated, you may have peripheral arterial disease (which simply the narrowing of the arteries of the legs) or Raynaud’s Disease.
  • Other symptoms are cramping, pain, leg tiredness when walking or climbing stairs.

 

Diabetes Risks

Just the Facts Ma’am

Diabetes is a treatable, sometime preventable, and one of the leading causes of death in the United States.   96% of people that are pre-diabetic don’t know about it.

Answer these few questions about common risk factors…

  1. Gender?
    Male: +1
    Female: 0
  2. Age?
    < 40: 0
    40-49: +1
    50-59: +2
    60 >: +3
  3. Immediate Family Member with Diabetes?
    Yes: +1
    No: 0
  4. Do you have high blood pressure or are being treated for it?
    Yes: +1
    No: 0
  5. Overweight?
    Normal: 0
    Overweight: +1
    Obese: +2
    Extremely obese: +3
  6. Physically Active?
    No: 0
    Yes: 1

If you score a 4 or higher, chances are that you’re already pre-diabetic. More than 5 and you’re considered high risk for diabetes.

If you’re likely to be diabetic or even pre-diabteic, it’s very important to get a blood glucose test to test your insulin sensitivity. It’s best to get this done in a professional setting, but If you’re hesitant to go to the doctor, you can start by taking a test at home.

Agility and Longevity

Hope you washed your feet

The lining of the blood vessels is composed of the same smooth muscle tissue as the tissue lining your hips and back.  So by testing your flexibility you can get a fairly reliable indication of the shape of your circulatory network.  This has been backed by studies that showed adults who adhere to stretching regimens showed a significant increase in their arterial flexibility as well.
All you need to do to check this is sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, with our toes pointing up.  Then bend forward and see if you can touch your toes.  If you can’t, then you’re at a higher risk for hypertension, which can be treated.  Get a proper reading at a cuff in the grocery store or at home utilizing a home monitor.  Blood pressure may be the single most important health metric you can measure, so having a monitor at home is a real good idea.
Add 10 minutes of stretches to your morning routine and you should be benefitting both your muscles and circulatory system.

Oral Health

Tongue Residue Test
  • Stick your tongue out and scrape the back of it with a spoon, preferably a white plastic spoon, try to collect as much ‘material’ as possible.
  • Take your sample and put it in a clear plastic bag and seal it
  • Put the sample in the bag under a bright light for 1 minute
  • Examine the spoon, is the sample discolored, or thick?    It should be clear and not have a mild odor.
  • If the smell is particularly ominous it could be signs of a further health related issues.
  • Fruity smell? Diabetes
  • Ammonia (Urine of Fishy)?  Kidney Issues

For a more detailed analysis, here is a list of causes of bad breath.
Also, please note, this is a pretty good indicator what your breath smells like to people in your life.

Gum Disease

Pay attention to your gums when you’re brushing and flossing (you are flossing aren’t you?).

  • Do they bleed?
  • Are they swollen?
  • Do you have loose teeth?

Gums a good indicator of overall oral health. Periodontitis (gum disease), is fairly common and is actually significantly correlated with heart disease.  It’s often a bacterial infection that can be easily treated, but you need to be aware of it.

 

Cancer Screenings

Know your body.  This is key to early cancer detection.  Self checks are not a replacement for getting professional checkups.  However, if you make a habit of checking yourself and paying attention to your body a bit more, you’re considerably more likely to notice issues earlier.  Early detection is possibly the most important aspect to cancer treatment, so get to know your body, it’s the only one you’ll ever have.  At the beginning of every month, give your body a quick once over.  After you’ve done these checks a few times, it’ll only take a few minutes, might save your life.

Testicular self check

The American Cancer Society has a good guide on checking yourself.

Breast Self exam

Self exams are not a replacement to mammograms, but are a great supplementary tool.  Here’s some guidance on breast self exams.

Oral Cancer

Rates are rising, and growth is mostly due to HPV infections,  you need to pay attention to your mouth and throat.  30 percent of oral cancers originate in the tongue, 17 percent in the lip, and 14 percent in the floor of the mouth.  Though with the increase of HPV infections, cancers are starting to be found in the tonsils, tonsillar pillar and crypt, the base of the tongue, and the oropharynx.  Survival rates of oral cancer are HIGHLY correlated to the stage at which they’re discovered.  If you have a sore that hasn’t healed within 10-14 days, see someone about it right away, don’t hesitate.

Here’s a guide to checking for oral cancers at home.

Skin Cancer

Nothing can replace having a good dermatologist give you a skin cancer screening. The only problem is that they can’t be there everyday to look for changes.  Unless you happen to be dating one.  So get to know your own skin and know what to look for or find a partner to help you.

Look over your moles and spots. All of them! It only takes one to cause problems.

Have any changed recently?

Do you have any new ones that have suddenly developed?

Here are the guidelines for looking at suspicious moles, known as ‘ABCDE’.

  • A, asymmetry: If the mole is cut in half vertically, the two halves are not the same.
  • B, border: The edges of the mole are irregular.
  • C, color: There are changes in the color of the mole or surrounding area.
  • D, diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than 5mm.
  • E, everything: The mole starts to itch, bleed, or change in any way.

There are various smart phone apps that make claims to be able to detect skin cancer.  One of the more popular and tested ones is Skin Vision.  A few years ago it was demonstrating an 81% accuracy rate with melanoma detection, but their algorithm has been getting better every year. This is still not a replacement for a proper dermatologist. Ff you find anything suspicious, you could at least get some idea whether it’s serious, while you’re waiting for your appointment with the Doctor.  If you’re having trouble getting an appointment, you may be ables to send your dermatologist images of your suspicions and they can often make a diagnosis based on photographic evidence.  Melanoma caught in the earliest stage has a 99% survival rate, but only 14% when caught in late stages.

Mental Health

Depression and Bipolar Disorders

Depression has physiological effects as well as mental.  Depression causes increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.  It’s not easy to diagnose so you may have it and never be diagnosed.

The first diagnostic set of questions are relatively simple:

  1. During the past 30 days, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  2. During the past 30 days, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?

If you answer yes to both those questions, it’s worth taking a further look.  There are a lot of tests online that can give you a better understanding of your depression.

Dementia

This simple test has been shown in research to be a good screening tool for showing early signs of dementia.

  • Get a pen and paper and draw a clock, complete with all 12 numbers and the hands pointing to 3:40.
  • Closed Circle: +1
  • Properly Placed Numbers +1
  • Getting all 12 Numbers +1
  • Properly Placed Hands +1
  • If you lose any points, (score is less than 4) there might be cause for concern and it would be a good idea to get a dementia screening.

Environment

Clean Air

How clean is the air that you live in?  Download an air quality app to find out.  You might be surprised how much dirtier the air is than you think.   The only app I’ve found that doesn’t give you watered down numbers is ‘Air Quality: Real time AQI’.  There are many factors to air pollution, different size particulates, various gases and air composition.  Though the most commonly discussed one is PM2.5, as it’s perceived to cause the most harm.  PM2.5 are very small particles that can get deep into your lungs and are responsible for causing bronchitis and cancer.
If your PM2.5 AQI levels are consistently higher than 100, you should invest in an air purifier for your home.  You can even make one yourself, all you need is a fan and a HEPA filter.  The folks at Smart Air started this DYI air cleaner trend.

 

Sleep

Quality of Sleep
  • Sleep how much sleep are you averaging per week?
  • What time do you usually get to sleep by?
  • How would you rate the quality of sleep?
  • Is your room totally blacked out?
  • Do you have a quiet area to sleep?
Sleep Apnea (ask your partner)

You’ll need to ask someone who is acquainted with being in the same room as you while you’re sleeping.  Ask them about your snoring (if they haven’t already complained to you about it).  If your snoring is very loud, peppered with occasional pauses (longer than 10secs) or including gasping, moaning and mumbling.  If you’re nodding off in the middle of the day, but you got a good nights sleep (7-8hours), that’s and indicator of sleep issues.  Waking up with a headache, dry throat, general irritability and lack of focus can be signal of sleep apnea as well.

 

Vision

Macular Degeneration
  • Look at a large frame in your house (window frame, door frame or hallway entrance).  Cover one eye and look at the horizontal and vertical lines of the frame for 30 seconds.
  • Switch Eyes
  • If you start to develop Macular Degeneration you’ll notice wavy lines, bowing in or out or missing parts of the lines.

This is a common issue in people over 50, there are some treatments available, so it’s better if you can catch it early.

General Vision Tests

Online exams are great for detecting vision problems. Essilor offers a fairly extensive range of online eye tests. You can take the tests as often as you want, in a comfortable setting.  However, these don’t replace a visit to the ophthalmologist, as they can’t physically check the eye to do pressure tests and other physical eye examinations.

Thyroid

Wobble Watch
  • Stretch out your hand with your palm down
  • Place a piece of paper on top of your hand
  • Look for trembling or shaking of the paper, which could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.  (The paper is just accentuate the shake/wobble)

A slight tremble is common, and has many causes, including caffeine or other stimulates. Women are much more likely than men to have hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid is overactive, this can cause many of the bodies regulatory systems to ‘run hot’.
If you suspect your thyroid is overactive, then another test that can give you a better indication is a basal temperature test, see next.

Basal Temperature

A basal temperature check is another indicator of thyroid activity based on checking your temperature to see if your within the normal range. Check here for easy instructions on how to run this test.

 

Beginner Basics

 

Here are the measurement you’ll need to make an initial assessment…

Physical Metrics

Weight

A simple scale should be adequate, though to ensure of consistent measurements and avoid variability, try and measure yourself in your underwear or naked and on a scale that you’ll have future access to.

BMI

Try this free online calculator (this used to be the gold standard, but it doesn’t account for short/tall people, nor body shape, so we combine it with waist/height ratio to get a good estimate)

Waist (Girth)

Using a simple body tape measure from the top of the hip bone, the tape should be snug but not digging into the skin.

What’s your waist looking like these days?  Belly fat is hyper problematic (more so than other fats like around your hips), and releases inflammatory chemicals that cause cell damage in the Pancreas, which causes diabetes and high blood pressure.

Knowing your waist size in ratio to your height, gives us a better idea about how you’re built.  Ideally, you don’t want to exceed a 2:1 height to waist ratio.  For example, I’m 81 inches tall so my waist should be no larger than 40 inches and preferably considerably smaller than that.

Height

You probably know this one by heart.

Age

How old are you? No Cheating.  This isn’t your dating profile.

Blood Pressure

We can’t stress the importance of knowing your blood pressure numbers, it’s probably the most important metric here. You’ll either need to visit a clinic, or a grocery store, for an HiGi station, or buy a home blood pressure monitor.  Having a monitor at home is the best solution, as everyone that lives with you can utilize it as well.  In addition to more people having access, you should really be checking your blood pressure at regular intervals and if you have the equipment at home, it’s quite easy.

Temperature

If you’re wanting to test your thyroid, make sure you measure the same spot.  Ideally, you’d use a glass thermometer in your armpit for consistency.

Resting Pulse

If you’re unsure how to take your pulse, here is a handy guide

Active Heart Rate

Knowing out how your heart is behaving throughout the day and during exercise can give you a good indication of your overall heart health.  There are a million heart rate trackers that you can purchase that will track this information for you.  Though the most accurate ones use a chest band for the sensor along with a wristband to interact with it.

One thing that’s difficult for doctors to diagnose is intermittent atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) because you’d have to be having an episode while you’re in the hospital for it to be seen. These heart rate monitors can track and store your data all day, so you can find intermittent anomalies.

Equipment

If you want to get some baseline metrics but don’t want to splash out so much money for equipment, you do have a few options.  You can subscribe to Lumoid services and simply rent some personal trackers to take some measurements.  Though you will probably be inclined to buy one after using them, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.

You can glean a lot of info from any HiGi station.  It’s a great way to track some of your basic metrics.  You can even win free prizes just for participating and tracking your health, a win/win all the way around.

Blood Metrics

Full Lipid Profile

  1. HDL (High Density LipoProteins)
    hese are considered the ‘good cholesterol’, you want a ratio of high HDL’s to low LDL’s.
  2. LDL (Low Density LipoProteins)
  3. Total Cholesterol
  4. Triglycerides
    Not actually cholesterol, but are typically lumped together with cholesterol numbers.  It’s basically a measurement of a specific fat in your blood that indicates if you’re carrying body fat and eating too much sugar.

Lipid Panels can be conducted at home and ordered online.  At home tests are considered quite reliable and regulated by the FDA.  Though having them done at a clinic offers you the opportunity to speak to a professional about your results.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

We’ve got a great guide to walk you through the process, it’s quite an easy test to administer, just simple fast, a good nights sleep, and a few alarms.

A1C Blood Test

A hemoglobin A1C blood test, gives your a better feel for your average blood glucose levels over a period of time.  This test is as valuable as the OGTT test and together they’re considered the gold standard of making diabetes diagnosis.

Hemoglobin Check (Iron Deficiency)

Fatigued? Pale?  Weak?  These are all signs of Iron deficiency, which is quite common among women (because of blood loss during menstruation) and those who abstain from eating meat.  A simple hemoglobin check can let you know if you need to start making dietary changes to ensure you’re getting enough iron.

Thyroid Health

Previously the standard test for measuring thyroid activity was simply the TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) test. Though it doesn’t actually test the hormones that are released by the thyroid (T3,T4), but the hormones that pituitary gland uses to stimulate thyroid.  Theoretically if you know the TSH values, then you can surmise about the functioning of the Thyroid.  However that isn’t always the case and there are instances where TSH number can be unreliable, especially in cases where the pituitary gland is malfunctioning.

A TSH test combined with a T3 and T4 test, is a complete diagnostic of your thyroid.  A can give you can get a better understanding of your thyroid function.

Thyroid Panel:

  1. Measurement of Serum Thyroid Hormones: T4 by RIA
  2. Measurement of Serum Thyroid Hormones: T3 by RIA
  3. Sensitive Measurement of Pituitary Production of TSH

You can order all these tests online, simply order a test kit and send back your blood sample.  EverlyWell is a reputable vendor for these tests.

 

Advanced Autonomous Arsenal

This is the next series of tests in our quest for Autonomous Health. The previous tests cover the 80/20 rule in regards to the most common ailments we have.  However, we’re all individuals, not statistics, so even if I’m afflicted with something that is statistically unlikely, then the Pareto Principal doesn’t really apply. So these tests are more specific in what they check for, still very common health issues that should be watched for. It’s similar to applying the Pareto Principal in a targeted way on the 20% we didn’t cover previously.

These are the advanced metrics, once you’ve got your basics covered above you should dive into these, to really get an comprehensive analysis of your body.

These are listed in order of perceived value from a ROI analysis.

Immunizations

There has been a huge incredibly harmful disinformation campaign online about vaccinations causing autism.  There is no science to support these claims what so ever.  Read the research collected by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Flu Shot (Every Year)
  • Hepatitis A (this is a food borne illness, and thus not easily preventable without a vaccine)
  • Hepatitis B (this can cause liver cancer, so if your sexually active, get this)
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
  • Diphtheria
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  • Meningococcal Disease
  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Shingles (for adults over 60)
  • Pneumococcal (for adults 65+ years

If you’re wondering which vaccinations you should get, the CDC has a online questionnaire you can take to determine your eligibility.

** This list doesn’t include travel vaccinations that you’ll need if you’re going to be going abroad.

 

DNA Analysis

There are a few reputable companies that are doing DNA analysis, and in recent years prices have come down considerably.  Getting gene analysis can sometimes be done for as little as ~$100USD.  A DNA analysis can give you clues into your genetic history and what genes put you at statistically higher risk for certain ailments.  Reports typically contain genealogy reports, so you can find out about your genetic make up in regards to your ancestry.  They also find you potential DNA relatives based on the DNA of others who are in their research pools.

In 2013 the FDA handed down new regulations disallowing 23 and Me to provide medical analysis with their genealogy reports. Which means inside the US, the DNA analysis firms cannot give you medical data/recommendations with your official reports. This regulation doesn’t apply outside the US, so if you’re strictly looking for medical data (not ancestry) then you’ll probably like 23 and Me’s offerings, as they still have a focus on medical data.

If you’re in the US, never fear, you can still get the data, you’ll just need to jump through another hoop first.
Basically the process for Americans is to get an analysis from any of the major DNA analysis firms, then run that data through Promethease.  Promethease takes your genealogy reports and generates medical information based on that data.  They work with most of the major DNA vendors and their reports are only 5$ or $10USD.

ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) offers a good informative page for comparing the major vendors and their offerings/prices.  Because of the regulations for each specific country, look here for links to country specific pages.

The major vendors:

If you’re interested in ancestry information as well and looking to find genetic relatives; The Legal Geneologist has info how to get your data into all the major DNA pools.

 

Gut Biome Analysis

Gut Biome testing is still a very developing area of science and medicine.  Research has been blooming in the last few years in relation to gut bacteria and it’s effects on overall health.  With the advent of microbiota analysis firms, and progressively more research, we’re starting to build a picture of which bacteria profiles are harmful and helpful and in what quantities.  It’s quite complicated, as often it’s not a single bacteria that is either good or bad, but a healthy combination of various bacterias.  Fortunately, there are a lot of firms working on this, and the next few years will hopefully show some great progress in what we know about the gut.

If you would like to get an analysis your personal gut microbiome, you can find a variety of sites to provide you with such info.

If you would like to learn more about your gut health, because there isn’t really an established authority on the topic, the Reddit MicroBiome wiki has a lot of good data and resources.

Allergy Panel

Do you suspect you have food allergies?

EverlyWell offers a variety of tests you can take at home.  Their food sensitivity test, runs your blood sample against ~90 different common high sensitivity foods.  For a food allergy test, it’s prices is comparable to others at $200.  EverlyWell uses a blood based test, which is reliable form of allergy testing. Some companies make dubious claims to be able to allergy analysis with hair samples, but there isn’t sufficient data to back up those claims.

 

Eye Health

See an ophthalmologist

Get a physical eye exam where they do pressure tests to look for things like glaucoma and hypertension.   Eye clinics are everywhere, test are quick and are typically reasonably priced, sometimes free if you’re willing to buy a pair of glasses.

 

Prostate Cancer

If you’re a man over 50, you might want to begin getting PSA(Prostate Specific Agent) tests to look for prostate cancer.  There has been some controversy over the use of PSA tests due to the high number of false positives.  Also, many tumors that are found, are so slow growing, the patient wouldn’t be affected by them in their lifetime anyway.  Thus in some cases it creates unnecessary stress and biopsies and unneeded treatment.  However, if you have a family history of prostate cancer and are over 65, then you should definitely consider getting a PSA test.

Bowel cancer screening

There are a variety of tests for checking bowel cancer.  Everyone knows about the dreaded colonoscopy, which is neither pleasant nor convenient.  The colonoscopy is considered the ‘gold standard’ for checking bowel cancer.  However, there are tests you can do at home that can give you fairly reliable indications of bowel cancer.

Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
This tests for blood that could occur anywhere in the digestive track, starting from the mouth all through to the colon.

Fecal Immunochemical test (FIT)
This tests for blood that could occur anywhere in the lower digestive track, making it a more specific test than the gFOBT.

Stool DNA test (Cologuard)
This is the newest test and looks for DNA mutations that occur in cases of bowel cancer.  It’s perhaps the most accurate test, but is very expensive ~$500USD and is less precise, leading to more false positives.

 

 

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