Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Health and risk

I’ve got something of an awful family history health-wise, with Diabetes coming down from one side of my family tree and heart disease/attacks coming from both; add to that the prominence of things like breast cancer (my mother and her mother both had it) and Lupus (my grandmother and one other relative), and suddenly Marcie is justifiably anxious about my health and longevity.

Which is why I was very interested to find this set of risk-assessment quizzes from the School of Medicine of Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with Barnes Jewish Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Research Center. It offers a brief but comprehensive quiz that will assess your degree of risk for Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Osteoperosis, and twelve types of Cancer.

I’ve worked through a handful of them, and I’m pleased with my results:
  • Diabetes = below average risk
  • Heart disease = much below average
  • Stroke = below average
  • Prostate Cancer = below average
  • Lung Cancer = much below average

Keep in mind, all this quiz can do is assess what degree you are “at risk” for these health issues. A clean or encouraging word from this helpful site is great, but it doesn’t excuse you from attending to your body’s health needs through exercise, dietary discipline, and keeping stress and anxiety levels in check.

That’s why I especially appreciate that, when they return your quiz results, they also include suggestions for how to improve your scores, as well as buttons that answer questions such as, “what makes up my risk?” and “what does my risk mean?” Beyond the basic quiz results, these folks offer a surprising amount of information in an interactive, semi-personalized format.

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