Why health trackers can push you off the road to wellness

As we know more about our bodies, from wearable tech to data feedback, so our health anxiety increases. So is it better not to know?

One thing led to another and then I was topless on a couch and then a cardiologist, his nose wrinkled, was explaining that everything was fine, except my heart was a bit… weird? I can’t remember the exact words, but they amounted, I think, to slightly more than “eccentric”, far less than bizarre. Though he was investigating something else entirely, he’d noticed that a valve up in there was slightly odd, definitely unrelated to the issue I was here for, and unlikely to impact my future health in any way. But now that he’d seen it, he thought it best to tell me. It’s better to know, though, I asked, right? He shrugged. “Sometimes?” he said, non-committal. “It’s complicated.”

At home, I found myself more aware of my heartbeat, listening for unusual sounds. When, some months later, I had what turned out to be indigestion, I went to the doctor assuming it was that valve, preparing to, perhaps, explode. I have no history of anxiety, had always been largely uninterested in what was happening inside my body – I thought of it in a similar way to the goings on in the vast deep waters of the sea, necessarily unfathomable. But having had this defect revealed to me, I became uncomfortably conscious of all these moving parts, all that could go wrong.

Continue reading…   

​As we know more about our bodies, from wearable tech to data feedback, so our health anxiety increases. So is it better not to know?One thing led to another and then I was topless on a couch and then a cardiologist, his nose wrinkled, was explaining that everything was fine, except my heart was a bit… weird? I can’t remember the exact words, but they amounted, I think, to slightly more than “eccentric”, far less than bizarre. Though he was investigating something else entirely, he’d noticed that a valve up in there was slightly odd, definitely unrelated to the issue I was here for, and unlikely to impact my future health in any way. But now that he’d seen it, he thought it best to tell me. It’s better to know, though, I asked, right? He shrugged. “Sometimes?” he said, non-committal. “It’s complicated.”At home, I found myself more aware of my heartbeat, listening for unusual sounds. When, some months later, I had what turned out to be indigestion, I went to the doctor assuming it was that valve, preparing to, perhaps, explode. I have no history of anxiety, had always been largely uninterested in what was happening inside my body – I thought of it in a similar way to the goings on in the vast deep waters of the sea, necessarily unfathomable. But having had this defect revealed to me, I became uncomfortably conscious of all these moving parts, all that could go wrong. Continue reading… 


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