My Longevity: The App
Posted by Martin Hewitt on December 18, 2020
Photo by Cameron Casey from Pexels
Most of us have thought about the future at some point and wondered what the years ahead may hold. There are some moments when these thoughts can be alarming, such as after a medical diagnosis, or during a global pandemic. But have you ever stopped to wonder just how useful it would be to have some understanding of what may be about to happen in terms of your health? Well, the people behind Mylongevity have.
Short of the pre-release online marketing campaign for the 2000 movie, Final Destination, which claimed to predict when users would die, there hasn’t really been any platform or device invented that can claim such fortune-telling powers. Which is why researchers at the University of East Anglia have created an app that could potentially be a game-changer for everyone.
Mylongevity uses ‘big data’ (a loose term used to refer to the massive amounts of information now stored about [almost] everyone on the planet) to give us a vague indication of our future health. It does this by taking an overall picture of our current health and lifestyle choices.
It doesn’t include specific dates or cause for every person. But what it could help with is our understanding of “cause and effect” in terms of lifestyle choices, perhaps giving us the motivation to make some significant changes for the better. It can also give us a better insight into when we should take specific steps. The experts' responsible point to the choice of retirement age as a significant example, but you could also think in terms of other long term plans and goals.
How does the Mylongevity app work?
According to thiis.co.uk, Mylongevity works on a system that’s based around UK averages. Researchers followed a group of 110,000 healthy people via electronic health records, all had reached the age of 60 between the years 1990 and 2000.
The study is now ongoing for 25 years, and the records are updated every six months. Researchers then factored in some key details that can have an impact on when we might die, including medical conditions and operations, and lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking.
What this means is that we’re being given an average estimate of when the inevitable will occur. In turn, we can use that information to empower ourselves. Risk factors include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), statin use (medicines we take to lower cholesterol) and our BMI (Body Mass Index – a calculation as to whether we are underweight, a healthy weight, overweight, or obese). The NHS website has a useful online tool for calculating BMI.
What does this have to do with chronic disabilities?
Conditions such as type 2 diabetes can result from poor diet and lack of exercise and can develop as someone ages and gains in weight. These are the same kind of risk factors that Mylongevity looks at when the app is calculating life expectancy.
These are life-changing events that can lead to serious complications, in turn, having a direct and very negative impact on our quality of life. In some cases, we may be left with a chronic disability. With this in mind, we start to understand that the information Mylongevity provides can be particularly useful, effective and practical. It can help to give us some perspective and allow us to understand what might be done to avoid certain outcomes where possible.
How else can technology help with chronic disabilities?
There’s an endless number of ways in which technology can and is helping people with chronic disabilities. Mylongevity is just one, whether this is by giving us food for thought on our health and lifestyle to avoid increasing the risk of significant health incidents, or by showing us the risk factors involved in specific chronic disabilities.
Technology has been helping with chronic disabilities for much longer than this, though. People use specialist kits and gadgets for all manner of mental and physical health support. A prime example being a health monitor. The fundamental purpose of the machines is to provide us with data on things like blood pressure and heart rate.
For more on how technology can help with chronic disabilities, why not have a read of our blog on smart devices.