We all want to be healthy and feel our best, but sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what metrics we should be monitoring in order to achieve optimal health. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 different metrics that you can use to gauge your own health and make necessary changes for health optimization. By understanding and tracking these key indicators, you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
WHAT IS HEALTH?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as health can be interpreted in many ways. If you are an athlete, health may have more to do with physical fitness and muscle mass. If you are a full-time worker, health may be more about managing your energy and stress levels and ensuring that you have enough time for your family at the end of the day. At the most basic level, however, health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. As a Physician, I believe that health isn’t just the absence of disease but that we all should thrive for optimal wellness. There are many factors that contribute to our overall health, including mental, emotional, and social factors as well as physical ones. In order to achieve optimal health, it is important to consider all of these different aspects of our lives. Optimal wellness is not just about the absence of illness, but rather about feeling our best mentally, emotionally, and physically.
That being said, there are certainly some key indicators that we can use to measure our overall health. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 different metrics that you can monitor in order to achieve optimal health. Monitoring these key health metrics is one way to assess our overall wellbeing, and can help us to identify areas where we need to make changes in order to improve our health.
7 KEY METRICS TO MONITOR FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH
- Body Fat Percentage
Body Fat Percentage is one of the most important indicators of health, as excess body fat can lead to a variety of health problems. Body fat percentage is calculated by measuring the thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer at 6 different points on the body. The results are then used to calculate a person’s body fat percentage.
The ideal body fat percentage varies depending on gender and age, but a healthy range is generally considered to be between 10-25% for men and 20-35% for women. A person’s body fat percentage can be affected b[i]y a variety of factors, including age, genetics, diet, and exercise habits. Body Fat Percentage can be measured through a variety of methods, including bioelectrical impedance analysis, underwater weighing, and DEXA scanning. We want to avoid having high levels of body fat because it can lead to things such as heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, and some types of cancer. If you notice that your Body Fat Percentage is outside of the healthy range, you may want to consider working with your Physician to implement changes to your diet and exercise habits in order to achieve a %.
2. Body Mass Index (BMI)
Another important indicator of health is Body Mass Index, or BMI. BMI is a calculation that takes into account a person’s height and weight. BMI has had a bad reputation in the past because it does not take into account a person’s body composition, but for most individuals it is still a valuable tool for assessing overall health especially in conjunction with body fat percentage and waist circumference measurements. For example, if you are an athlete or very muscular, you may have a high BMI even though you do not have excess body fat. For most however, a BMI that is too high or too low can indicate an increased risk for certain health problems. For men, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy, while a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. For women, the healthy range is slightly different, with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 considered healthy, a BMI of 25-29.9 considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or above considered obese.
BMI can be calculated using the following equation: BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)2
There are several online calculators available to determine your BMI.
3. Waist Circumference
A third indicator of health is waist circumference. Excess belly fat, especially around the waist, can be a sign of increased risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes. A healthy waist circumference is different for men and women. For men, a healthy waist circumference is less than 40 inches, while for women a healthy waist circumference is less than 35 inches.
You can measure your waist circumference by wrapping a measuring tape around your waist at the level of your navel.
4. Inflammation Levels
Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body fight infection and heal injuries. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a variety of health problems. With the rise of chronic inflammation, there has been a corresponding increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.
There are a number of ways to measure inflammation levels in the body. The most common way is to measure the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a protein that is released into the blood in response to inflammation. A high CRP level indicates that you have a high level of inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. CRP levels can be easily measured with a blood test.
5. Hormone Levels
Hormone levels are another important indicator of overall health. Hormones are substances that are produced by the body and that control the function of various organs and tissues. There are a number of different hormones, each with its own specific function. Some types include:
- DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone)
If we look at Testosterone, it is a hormone that is produced by the testes in men and the ovaries in women. Testosterone plays a role in a number of important bodily functions, including bone health, muscle mass, energy levels, and sex drive. Testosterone levels begin to decline as you age, and low testosterone levels can lead to a number of health problems, including decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, and reduced energy levels. This metric made its way to our list because in both men and women, testosterone is important for mental health, bone density, and more.
Cortisol: This is a hormone that is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Cortisol plays a number of important roles in the body, including regulating blood pressure, metabolism, and blood sugar levels. high cortisol levels can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
DHEA-S: This is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. DHEA-S is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. DHEA-S levels can be used as an indicator of how well your adrenal gland is working. High DHEA-S levels may indicate that you are coping well with stress. Low DHEA-S levels may indicate that you are under a lot of stress.
6. Vitamin D Level
Vitamin D is not a vitamin but acts like a hormone in the body. It is important for optimal health and helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, which are essential for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps keep your immune system healthy by supporting the function of your white blood cells. Vitamin D levels can be easily measured with a blood test or a urine test.
Most people get their vitamin D from sun exposure, but it is also found in some foods, including salmon, tuna, and eggs. Most people do not get enough vitamin D, which can lead to health problems.
7. Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is another important indicator of overall health. Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is expressed as two numbers, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the pressure when your heart contracts and pumps blood out, and the diastolic pressure is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the systolic pressure is 140 mmHg or above and/or the diastolic pressure is 90 mmHg or above.
High blood pressure can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. If you are concerned that you may have high blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor. Blood pressure can be easily measured with a home blood pressure monitor or at your doctor’s office.
It may feel like a lot to monitor, but taking a holistic and individualized approach to your health is the best way to ensure that you are doing everything possible to maintain or improve your health. These six key metrics provide a good starting point, but you may find that you need to add or subtract other measures depending on your specific situation. By keeping an eye on these important health indicators, you can be proactive in preserving your health and preventing disease.
Institute for Human Optimization
We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare. At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. This may include functional, traditional, naturopathic and/or homeopathic medicine. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.
Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!
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