health app data, Employed vs. Unemployed

*I’m using a 4 year old Iphone 5, purchased in 2012.  It’s the best phone I’ve ever used, and the only to last more than 1 year. While there isn’t a clear line dividing “Steve Jobs worked on” from “phone was after he died”, the 5 is the pinnacle of Apple design in my head.  The following ones were plastic, then stupidly sized, battery killing, expensive, and thanks to Apple’s software updates, there are still minimal advantages to buying something newer.  This phone has aged beautifully and (insert pic later) The only features I regret are the full “Steps” implementation in the Health App (to be discussed later), and Apple Pay.  I haven’t researched alternatives to Apple Pay, but recent surveys say only about 1 in 5 people with the technology have tried it, and a lot of cashiers don’t know how it works.  However, with the stupid Chip credit cards, this might become a feature I want someday.

On to the Health App.  I love it and can see future versions with cheap lab grade bluetooth sensors, better interfaces, connectivity to global databases, servers monitoring our every breath, etc.  The Health App will unquestionably revolutionize healthcare (and other industries), put most doctors out of business, and increase life expectancy.  But right now it sucks, I can’t even export data vs. time into an excel file.  So as usual, I transcribed this data manually with the goal of showing what happens to health when transitioning from a high-stress management job at a failing startup company to 100% stress free unemployment.  The nice thing about moving data manually is that you get a chance to look at it, which is too rarely done these days.

Background info:  I have weighted 200 pounds +/- 1% for the last 8 years, since I graduated college.  My exercise habits have varied, generally with 30-40 mins of intense cardio done a couple times a week, with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.  About 6 months ago I started lifting weights (recreationally), and reduced the amount of sugar and processed anything that I eat.  Those changes produced minimal variations in weight or feeling of well being.


So, despite normally gaining 5 pounds during the holidays (my memory of previous years), this year, when I quit working, I immediately lost about 8 pounds, without losing any lifting strength.  I did start running 3X a week instead of 1x, but I stopped my usual 2×40 minute high intensity bike rides (daily work commute).  I conclude that running is much better than biking for maintaining a lower body weight, and the removal of job stress likely has an impact, unfortunately can’t be separated.  Food didn’t change.  Sleep increased, I started waking up at noon instead of 8:30 AM, but also stayed up later and had a less consistent schedule.  My mother told me my face looks thinner.

Blood pressure- this is a known issue in my family.  I’ve never had a doctor measure it, but I bought a Walgreens home kit that seems as accurate as what the average nurse uses, possibly better by avoiding white coat syndrome.  Blood pressure measurements are notoriously unrepeatable, as shown by 3 back to back readings I took yesterday.  I always see the same downward trend.

bp repeats

This study and others (of mine) show at least a +/- 10 point change in the upper number depending on…. I have no idea what.  The problem with all my data is, sometimes I took and recorded multiple measurements, sometimes I took a few and averaged them, sometimes I chose just one, etc.  The upper (peak) BP number (the one reportedly more correlated to cardiovascular diseases in people over 50) is almost unusably inconsistent, but here is all the data, edited as best I can to present averages.

bp dataall.PNG

As much as I’d like to hypothesize about why the data is the way it is, it would just be stupid.  We need a better sensor which averages a repeatable daily activity and accounts for whatever confounding variables.  Or maybe I just need to sit at the table longer before I start measuring.  I’ll try.

Lastly for now, on the topic of the Health App, here are some interesting screenshots from someone’s sleep app, which are based on watch data (microphone, accelerometer, heart rate?).  Like the blood pressure, there is a question about the utility of the data.

Coming soon, a direct comparison of these cheapo sleep Apps to a medical grade sleep analysis.  If reddit finds one.




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