Optimising health is one of EML’s six corner stones for making the most of living longer.

Having identified the importance of knowing your personal health data, I started taking reading roughly twice a month and have been doing so for the last three years. Recently colleagues helped analyse the findings and I was surprised by what we found.

Taking the readings involve a number of readily available devices – scales to measure weight and calculate BMI, a simple wrist blood pressure monitor for BP and heart rate, a blood oxygen monitor and a thermometer. Measuring took about five minutes once a fortnight and I kept the results on my phone.

From the readings, I already had a good idea of ‘where I was’ – and knew if they were up or down. It was only when we looked at them objectively that I realised the power of ‘knowing’.

• Range the measurements tended to vary within a well-defined range so anything within that range was normal.
• Benchmark knowing where you are is one thing but to interpret it you need a benchmark comparison group. Getting the right benchmark is important as most of my readings looked pretty bad when compared to a group of Olympic athletes.
• Trend three years of data allow long term trends to be calculated – these were probably the most powerful. Increasing blood pressure and weight sounded loud warning bells.
• Available Part of the impetus behind this project was the long hours sitting in A&E supporting my in-laws after various incidents. If they had known a little more about their medical history and had something to show the medical staff we could have saved hours!