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Monday, August 20, 2012

A personal case of proactive health care leveraging the scalpel

I have been a researching the mobile health and digital health space while at Fjord and one of the clear trends is the drive towards proactive healthcare leveraging digital tools like pedometers like Fitbit, fitness platforms like Nike+ and wellness communities like HeiaHeia. These tools are generating data, which generates information and ultimate knowledge.

In my research I have developed a deeper interest in my own wellbeing. I log several factors using my Fuelband, my Withings scale and my  iPhone using platforms like HeiaHeia and Cyclemeter. I changed my diet towards lower carb intake, more vegetables and started jogging actively. Starting jogging was a real boost. I now do 2-3 times a week, I run typically about 10km and always listen to books while I run, I have not read as many books in years as I have while running. I have done acupuncture and tuina massage for a several years at my chinese doctor in London’s Chinatown, it works very well.

 The space I find fascinating is sleep. Sleep is something we know very little of. It was not until the emergence of the Zeo band that it was possible to monitor sleep at home. I do not suffer from sleep apne, all I know is, if I do not sleep well I become grumpy and underperforming, after longer periods of poor sleep my short term memory seems to deteriorate.

I have for a longtime been aware that I do not breathe through my nose when sleeping, something we are evolved to do.  This leads to a dry mouth, which leads to the need to drink during the night, which leads to waking up. None of this is scientifically validated.  I did some experiments and realized that my left nostril was almost blocked. I then read about and discussed about having an operation to open it up called Rhinoplasty, essentially plastic surgery in the nose. I went to the GP and discussed it and he sent me to the specialist and this week after waiting for 6 months I was on the operation table.

What I find so amazing is that I could have this as part of our healthcare system in Finland, one of the best in the world. This is a proof point that Finland is one of the best countries to live in. The surgery is not in this case a form of vanity, nor is it clinically needed, so it has to be a case of proactive medicine for a better life quality. Thus the state invests in its people. Thank you. The question who is the judge on this, who benefits and why should the state pay.

I think it is very good that the surgeons make a decision, should it be done, can it help. They did offer me drugs, I declined.

I think the state can benefit, as I will be more creative and productive, generate more output and as part of it of is taxed and put in circulation.

I had to wait for the operation for 6 months, two weeks before they changed the date, so one could argue that I was filling up a gap in the system. Giving state employed surgeons practice, yes they do need practice to perfect their skills. 

It will be incredibly interesting to follow is how does this affect my life and my sleeping and subsequently my energy level, my short term memory, my teeth and the sleeping patterns of my wife. I will let you know.



02:50 PM | Permalink


I believe new technology can inspire people to exercise and do sports. My first experience was Nokia Sports Tracker which inspired me to go jogging frequently. It was so fun and useful to follow my progress. Later I bought a heartbelt and started following my heart rate in different conditions. I could see how my body reacts to downhills, uphills, different paces et cetera.

Of course there are people who are motivated enough to sports as themselves, but for me this technology aspect helped in keeping my interest.

Posted by: Tero Lehto at Aug 20, 2012 10:09:08 PM

Just like the old saying:Do moderate exercise and eat more fruit and vegetable, then keep away from doctors.

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