Health calculators are available on multiple platforms. You will find many apps that can easily be downloaded onto your phone, tablet or wearable health gadgets. Many health-related websites will have calculators free to use. Your doctors’ offices, or other health facilities, are also likely to have health calculators that you could use to measure some health metrics as you wait your turn.
General health calculators are mostly linked to lifestyles. The commonly used ones are related to weight. You can calculate your body mass index (BMI), amount of calories burned during a work-out, or calories ingested with certain meals. You can also calculate how much of your body is actually fat, how much you need to eat daily to maintain health, how much alcohol gets into your blood during a drinking spell, or how much physical activity is needed to raise your heart rate to a certain level.
And then there are calculators sorely for women’s health. One of the most common ones is the pregnancy calculator. Most pregnancy calculators come as handy apps and are capable of tracking almost every aspect of your pregnancy. You will get reminders when clinics are due, prompts about important pregnancy milestones, and even handy advice about common symptoms. Those trying to conceive aren’t left out either, you will easily find ovulation apps that will quickly track your periods and prompt you on the most fertile days. There’s even a contraceptive app available for those who want to avoid pregnancy, and aren’t interested with traditional contraceptives.
If you have the right medical data about yourself, you can also find apps that can predict your risks of certain reproductive cancers. Inputting the required data may sometimes require help from your gynaecologist following some evaluations. You will then get individualised predictions, and additional advice on limiting your cancer risks. Those on certain long term meditations may also use specific apps to remind them on dosages, prescription refills and interval medical reviews.
There are obviously some benefits in being aware of your health metrics. You want to remain within the green zone of whatever you calculate. If you are on the yellow or red zones, you will find additional advice. Or you will instinctively know what to do. But you will still need the odd clinical assessment and routine physical screening for certain diseases.
Beware that clocking nice numbers with your health calculators does not necessarily equate to good health. Your overall health status is an interplay of many variables, and scoring best in self-calculated parameters is only part of the health equation. Even though complex medical algorithms can display almost anything in numbers, you can never completely walk away from a reasoned interpretation by a skilled physician.
Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist