Sunday, February 16, 2020

Knowing Your Limits (That's A Math Pun)

It would be accurate to say that I love data tracking and statistics.

Last Christmas, I bought myself a smart blood pressure monitor and a smart thermometer. I'm not sick, though I know I'm a little overweight and my blood pressure tends to run a little high (at least according to US standards--in the EU, I'm in the normal range for BP).

And getting myself to a more healthy state is part of the reason I bought them. Alongside my smart scale (which I really only bought because I wanted a scale and the least-expensive/most-accurate option I could find happened to be smart), they lend a better picture to my overall health.

But what some people forget is that you can't really know how sick you are if you don't know how well you were.

I check my stats everyday, usually two or three times (three is the minimum I aim for, but don't let me paint you any picture that suggests I'm prefect) in a day. That's weight, blood pressure, and temperature. Everyday.

I've got a pretty good baseline by now. I know where my "normal" is.

These are distribution charts of my measurements to date, but you can't infer
my actual measurements from it (which is the only reason I'm posting it publicly).
This temp chart contains 258 data points, while the BP charts cover 193 each.

That's really handy to know when there's a nasty virus floating around... and one of the early signs is a fever.

They say the human body sits at 98.6°F, but that's not strictly true.

The truth of the matter is that "healthy" is usually between 97° and 99°. Some people run a little hot and some people run a little cold. If you're the sort of person who tends to run a little hot, getting a "fever" of 100° is pretty slight. Conversely, if you tend to run on the colder side, what was traditionally considered "normal" (I'm referring to 98.6° here) is actually a fever.

What I'm trying to say is... if you only measure your health when you're not feeling well, you can't really know how unwell you actually are.