After the last year and a half, getting your general health in check may seem like a Herculean task. According to the Kaiser Foundation, 91% of Americans think it’s important to get an annual physical, but only 62% of Americans typically get one. And if you’re always tired, foggy, or just feel “off,” Googling your way to answers is a surefire way to convince yourself that you’re either dying of the rarest disease ever catalogued by science or simply dehydrated. The reality? It’s really hard to guess what’s wrong (or what could be better) when you don’t have all the data.
Is it what you’re eating? Is it the kind of exercise you’re getting? Are your hormones just a bit wonky for no reason other than everyone’s different? Without regular blood and saliva workups it’s nearly impossible to determine what’s helping and what’s hurting, and most doctors will only order lab tests if they suspect something is truly wrong. Unless you’ve got gobs of money for a high end performance doctor, you probably don’t know your own baseline measurements.
Fear not. The tests themselves are actually more affordable than they’ve ever been, and a new company called Base is looking to make baseline health measurements something that you can use in your day to day life, no doctor visit necessary. Base takes the complexity of testing and provides simple, plain language results in five key areas of health, including sleep, sex, diet, stress, and energy. And the best part? You can take all the tests from the comfort of your own home, no lab visits necessary.
Once your results are in, Base isn’t providing meaningless numbers for you to make sense of yourself. Base’s medical team provides detailed yet straightforward recommendations based on your test results that allow you to make targeted, meaningful changes to your behavior to improve your overall well-being. Unlike a doctor who may tell you that your cholesterol is high and needs to be lower, Base encourages you to take the daily steps necessary to reverse that trend (eat less sugar, red meat, and processed foods, exercise 5x a week, and stop vaping, fwiw). And once you’ve had time to adjust your own behavior, Base can retest you and show how your metrics have changed, all in their easy to use app.
The team behind Base is led by Lola Priego, a former med-student and engineer who knows all too well just how inefficient and frustrating medical testing can be. “It took me many days, copays, hidden bills, doctor’s opinions, and many hours of research on Google to learn what was wrong and come up with a new diet that would fix my current issues” she explains. “ I knew there had to be an easier, and faster way for me to understand what was going on in my body.”
And while it’s great that algorithms can accurately predict what TV show you’d enjoy next, Base is applying that same kind of data processing to the human body so we can better understand our own personal baseline health, which isn’t as uniform as you might believe. For example, most people understand 98.6 degrees Farenheit to be the normal human body temperature. That number is over 200 years old and was more of an educated guess than hard data, and recent studies show that 75% of people have resting body temperatures below that “average.”
And while Base is analyzing millions of different data points to come up with truer, more personalized measurements for everyone, rest assured that your data is fully encrypted and protected by the same laws that your insurance company abides by. And speaking of insurance, while Base isn’t covered by standard insurance plans (yet), you CAN likely use your HSA or FSA to purchase.
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