You Will Be Your Own Doctor
Sunday, Jan 29, 2012
In the near future, about 10 to 20 years, we are going to have a big shift in our model for health care. To glance into the not-to-distant future you can imagine what it would be like to live robustly to over 100 years without dying of any specific disease, or wasting away with an enfeebling, long-lasting disease.
This will happen with you monitoring and adjusting your own health in real time with the help of smartphones, wearing gadgets to track the inner workings of your own cells, and virtual computer images of your own bodies. These will allow you to know exactly what you should do to optimize every aspect of your health.
Today, you who are health conscious follow general guidelines for healthy nutrition, exercise, and body composition to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other lifestyle diseases. You know you should not smoke, and you have periodic check-ups with you physician.
You hope that your healthy habits will prevent serious disease and provide you with a long, disease-free life. But, we have very limited knowledge of what is actually happening in our own body, so our health care model today must be based on diagnostic medicine. We try to do the best we can with our general health guidelines, but we must wait for an obvious symptom to emerge in order to take action. By then, we are treating a disease that has already established itself.
In the future from a body fluid like saliva, tears, or a drop of blood, you will be able to upload information onto a personal chip that will create an individualized plan of action, including both preventive measures and therapies for identified potential ailments. You could be told you need more vitamin A, so eat a carrot, you need five grams of protein immediately after a workout, your blood glucose levels are low, so consume ten grams of carbohydrates, or your fluid levels are low, so drink a cup of water.
Data derived from analyzing your small amount of body fluid will also be sent to your doctor to continually monitor your health and send you timely advice.
You and your family come to the Y for the exercise that you know is essential for a healthy lifestyle. In the near future you will be able to monitor precisely how your exercise is benefiting your health, and what exactly you should do to guarantee a long and healthy life.