Do You Know Your Numbers?

Apr 7 08:02 2011 Bob Robinson Print This Article

You can better manage your health if you better manage your numbers. Learn some ideas on how you can do this.

Use any search engine and type in the phrase ‘Know your numbers‘.

The search engine will identify dozens upon dozens of web-sites focused on the importance of knowing your numbers when it comes to health related matters. You will find that virtually all of the web sites are very legitimate since for the most part they will be government,Guest Posting hospital and health agency based sites. Some are general and talk about several different numbers, while others are more specific and focused on numbers related to their particular interest, such as heart disease or diabetes. The search engine will also identify a wide variety of articles written by individuals in the health industry, some professional, some quasi-professional and some who are just plain passionate about the subject, like myself.

Since there is so much information about the importance of knowing your numbers, I am not going to repeat any of it here. It should become quite obvious to you if you simply visit a few of these sites. It is enough to know that it is important - too important to disregard.

Since there is so much information about the specifics of any numbers as they relate to an aspect of your health, I am not going to repeat any of them here either. The numbers themselves and what the represent, where they should be and so on are also readily available if you simply visit the sites. Here also, you should understand that the numbers themselves are important - too important to disregard.

So the question might well be, what does this article have to add if there is so much information out there already?

Good question!

Here is the answer.

This article focuses on two things:

   1: What you should be doing with the numbers, and

   2: How you can use other numbers to influence the really important ones

 1: What you should be doing with the numbers

Knowing your number for a specific aspect of your health is important of course, but knowing it in relation to where it should be, knowing it in relation to where you can reasonably expect it to be given your particular circumstances, and knowing it in relation to where it has been and where it is heading are just as, if not more important.

So what you should be doing with the numbers is tracking them over time so that you can see a trend, and so that you can see where it stands at any point in time relative to where it should be and where you want it to be.

The best way to do this is to display the numbers on a chart or a graph. Charts are visual, they are forceful, they are insightful and they carry a lot of impact. They show relationships between one thing and another. In short, they convey a lot of information at a single glance.

To see what I mean and to see an example of how I use a chart to keep track of my LDL Cholesterol, click on the following link: http://therecordskeeper.com/LDLChart.pdf

If you look at the chart you will see that I have actual readings that go back several years. I ask my doctor for these each year when I have my annual check-up. I have entered the Canadian government recommended upper and lower limits and I have entered a personal target. I also use a trend line to indicate whether the measure is increasing, decreasing or staying at the same level. On the chart, you can see that while this cholesterol reading is not at the optimal level, I have passed my personal target on more than one occasion and the trend is positive, that is, it is decreasing year over year, a good sign for this number.

I bring this and all my other charts with me when I visit my doctor for my annual medical examinations. When I am advised of the new numbers, I immediately pencil them onto the charts and depending on where the numbers fall, I can then discuss their significance with my doctor right away. We can decide if there are any potential problems looming, if there are lifestyle changes I should be making, or if there are medications I should start taking, and so on.

I believe quite strongly in the old adage “You can manage what you can measure” and in this case I believe that I am managing my LDL Cholesterol level. I know my numbers, in other words.

2: How you can use other numbers to influence the really important ones

In many cases, you can influence some of your numbers on your own. You do not have to resort to or rely on medical procedures or medications. You can do this by making lifestyle choices and changes, mainly through diet and exercise.

Here again, you can use numbers to track many aspects of your lifestyle choices, and then use charts to help you manage those choices.

Diet related choices can have a significant impact on your numbers. What you eat, how much you eat, and what you allow your body to ingest are worth managing in many cases. You manage these things the same way you manage your health numbers - by measuring and tracking them over time on a chart, setting targets and looking for trends, both positive and negative. Setting targets for things like calorie, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and other similar things that you may ingest and then managing them by tracking them over time can help you reach your goals.

Physical activity and exercise likewise can have a significant impact on your numbers. How much you do and what you do are worth managing in many cases. Here again, you manage them by setting goals, by measuring and tracking the activity over time on a chart. Setting targets for things like daily walking, running, jogging, bicycling, stretching, hiking, weight lifting, aerobics, yoga or whatever you engage in as physical activity are worth measuring and tracking if you want to manage them.

It can be very satisfying to visually see the results on a chart when you achieve a target, or to see the impact of what you are doing on one of your health numbers.

To see what I mean and to see an example of how I use a chart to keep track of my daily exercise time, click on the following link: http://therecordskeeper.com/LDLChart.pdf

If you look at the chart you will see that I have set my exercise target at an average of 45 minutes each day. This represents 45 minutes of formally working out at my local YMCA gym. I then keep track of how many minutes I spend exercising when I am there or at some other gym. I use a trend line to indicate whether my average time per month is increasing, decreasing or staying at the same level. On the chart, you can see that while I have surpassed my target for several months, I  have also missed the target on occasion but the trend is flat and I am actually averaging about 50 minutes per day. I am committed to keeping it above my target.

These are the kinds of things I do to manage my numbers - to manage my health.

So!

So you can and should do something similar. How you do it is up to you - just do it. You can keep the numbers in your head, but it makes more sense to keep them formally in some fashion. You can use paper and pencil, you can use a black or white board. Today, It Is easy to use a computer and if you are reading this on a computer, then you likely know how to use one. There are any number of general software programs such as Microsoft’s Excel that allow you to generate graphs, so you can use one of those. There are also several programs that are tailored to make it easier for you. The graphs in the samples I used in this article were produced using a product called ‘the RecordsKeeper’, a software program designed specifically to make charting like this easier for you.

I know my numbers. I manage them. You can too.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Bob Robinson
Bob Robinson

As the founder of RecordsKeeper Software, Bob’s passion is to provide ideas and software that helps people get control of their lives, to function better and to improve the ability to manage their affairs by having well organized information about everything that is of importance to them.               

Presently, Bob is writing articles and building his business.               

You can reach Bob at rbtrobinson@rogers.com or visit the RecordsKeeper website at http://www.therecordskeeper.com/

View More Articles