When setting health goals, wouldn't it be great if you could see the future? What if you could know in advance where problems would arise so you could focus your efforts on reducing your risk for those issues that would cause future suffering?
You could then save time and energy by not focusing on issues that are not going to arise in your future.
Precision medicine seeks to bring "the right treatments to the right person at the right time." I believe we have entered the early forefront of precision medicine and are ready to start helping people in such a way.
Here are some of the basic "tools" we can use to help you take a glimpse at what your future might hold:
Current health conditions. For example, having diabetes, fatty liver disease, or PCOS increases the risk for future heart disease.
Family history. If everyone in your family has died of cancer, screening and prevention becomes critically important.
Blood biomarkers. Blood testing can help us to see how well your body is functioning at the moment. Are you metabolically healthy? Or do you show signs of developing problems?
Body composition. Someone with low muscle mass or low bone density might need different strategies than someone with excess adiposity (body fat).
Genetic testing. Not yet mainstream but coming soon, targeted gene testing may help to modify risk predictions. If you have a family history of dementia, it might be helpful to know your ApoE genotype.
Health behaviors. Do you have your nutrition, exercise, and sleep dialed in, or are there areas you struggle? Are you consuming toxic substances such as cigarette smoke or excess alcohol?
Social/mental health. Having good relationships and a network of friends, for example, predicts better long-term health. Loneliness and social isolation predict the opposite.
While likely not a complete list of available tools, I hope reading this sparks your interest in having conversations with your healthcare team about what your future might hold.
Have a super week,
Dr. Topher Fox
P.S. If you missed any previous emails, the content is posted weekly here
P.P.S. Below are the pictures from my exam room wall which we are exploring for this email series.
Dr. Christopher FoxI am a board-certified endocrinologist in Superior, CO, and I have been in private practice since 2003. People I work with achieve success when they learn all the ingredients of healthy lifestyle and the system to consistently follow through on good intentions. I use my knowledge of endocrine science, psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior to help people make meaningful, lasting changes in their health that they can sustain long-term.