People all over the U.S. are digging for solutions to the countless problems in the healthcare system. Heads Up Health is part of the healthcare solution, providing technology that allows you to centralize all of your health, fitness and medical data in one place.
Recently we caught up with Todd Smith. Todd used Heads Up Health technology to discover a significant heart condition that he had been born with — and living with unknowingly all along. He told us about how he used the technology and healthcare analytics to identify this issue and take appropriate action to treat it.
Heads Up Health: So, you’re in great shape, you love taking long cycling trips and pushing your body. What happened that made you realize, “Hey, something’s not right”?
Todd: In early 2014, I went to a spin class; I was training for a ride down to Sarasota, FL. After the class, I had really bad headaches for weeks afterwards. [My doctors] did a CT scan and didn’t find anything.
So, I road down to Sarasota and on the last day of the bike ride — day five — I had heart palpitations for 24 hours. I had an echocardiogram last year and again nothing was discovered, so I didn’t think it was anything serious and neither did my doctors.
When I went to get my physical [exam], my doctor noted high blood pressure and cholesterol as potential issues and recommended a medication for hypertension. But, instead of jumping on a hypertension medication, I decided to start taking matters into my own hands.
I decided to hold off on the prescription and began collecting my own data at home including blood pressure, heart rate, sleep, activity and other lifestyle metrics. I also started tracking my own lab test results in Heads Up Health. My data led me to suspect the diagnosis from my doctor was incorrect. I sought out a second opinion from a different cardiologist and that’s when the correct issue, a genetic issue I was born with but had never been properly diagnosed.
Heads Up Health: Tell us about your experience with healthcare and your life leading up to the discovery of your heart disease.
Todd: As far as my own experience with healthcare, I’ve always been physically active. When I was in my 20s I ran marathons; I ran the New York City Marathon twice, plus the Los Angeles Marathon. After having some knee trouble, I dialed back from that and got into cycling. I even rode my bicycle coast to coast. I have a long bucket list I’d like to accomplish of other bicycle rides, too.
Heads Up Health: How did you feel after your diagnosis? What did you do?
Todd: I’ve continued to track my own health very closely using Heads Up Health’s solution. I’ve finally found the right specialist, which has ultimately led me to the right healthcare treatment. I was nervous about the outcome, but I’m confident that I have control over it. My hope is to jump right back onto the bucket list and cross things off.
Heads Up Heath: How do you use the Heads Up Health technology?
Todd: I have the Withings wireless blood pressure monitoring cuff to track my blood pressure and pulse rate. I use a FitBit to track my sleep and physical activity. Both of these devices are connected to my Heads Up Health account. I manually enter my BMI, weight, body water and muscle mass into my Heads Up account about once a week.
As someone that’s super busy, I’ve used Heads Up Health’s Concierge Service to help me get all of my clinical data (labs, medication history, conditions, etc.) into my profile. I can now track all of my medical data alongside all of my daily lifestyle data and share this with my doctor as needed.
Heads Up Heath: How did this whole experience — between the Heads Up Health technology and interaction with healthcare providers — make you feel confident about being in control of your health?
Todd: I think the analogy is, you’re becoming the driver of your own healthcare, as opposed to a passenger. Especially when you have a tool like [Heads Up Health]. I feel very confident about my situation. I don’t feel like I’m in the dark; I feel like I have control, and that’s pretty cool.
Other issues could crop up as I get older — I’m 45 — but hopefully I’ll be able to make decisions quickly, especially seeing trends over time. The more information you have, the more you have to make decisions to take care of yourself.
Heads Up Heath: OK last question. Based on your personal experience, what’s the one piece of advice you would offer others who are on a similar journey toward health transformation?
Todd: My one piece of advice is that people should take 100% control of their own health, instead of relying on hurried, overburdened healthcare providers. At the end of the day, I know that no one has a more vested interest in my health than I do. Far too many people place some sort of mystical trust in doctors, and the fact of the matter is they’re human, they make mistakes and overlook things, and they’re really taught to be reactive instead of preventative.
Learn More about Heads Up Health
Interested in another Heads Up Health Story of Transformation? Check out beta user Bill Schuller’s story about how the technology helped him organize all his electronic health records.
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