No – I’m not advocating carving out 4+ years to work like a dog for a sub-minimum wage salary in laboratory settings that would make an OSHA inspector blanch.*
I’m talking about getting your own Diabetes PHD (Personal Health Decisions) analysis using a new interactive tool developed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The PHD tool takes in an abbreviated health history with physical data, family history and relevant cardiovascular data (it helps to know your last blood pressure and cholesterol values) and charts your current and projected risk profile for type-2 diabetes, heart attack and other diabetes related co-morbidities over the next 30 years. The analysis only takes a few minutes. Here’s me:
Okay – that looks not-so-bad. But one of the cool things about the tool is that you can adjust some of the values (that is, what if I lost weight or lowered my blood pressure) and recalculate the projection and compare it to the original. With a few clicks I got rid of those 20 pounds I know I ought to lose and lowered my bp into a safer niche:
Pretty cool. So if I do those things my prognosis shifts from a 1-in-6 chance of developing diabetes to a 1-in-8. I like those odds better.
The information here is all stuff we ought to have heard, but I think the graphical representation and seeing the prognosis change with variables might do a better job of getting the point across than a physician wagging their finger at you. Or maybe it's because I'm a scientist and like to see data.
I just hope it won’t take as long for me to get to a more-fit, less-stressed Steve as it did to get my PhD.
*By no means am I hating on graduate school – despite the veracity of the characterizations, I loved grad school.