Digital motivation fuels Uwe’s health transformation

Heart health
Success Stories
January 19, 2024

After a heart surgery forced him to rethink his lifestyle, find out how this caregiver learned to change his habits with technology that supported him on his quest for a healthier life.

Uwe Papstein is a 61 year old caregiver from Germany who has been working in a nursing home in Denmark for the past 18 years. As a result of his job, he is very familiar with the common health conditions found among elderly people. This knowledge played an important role in his own life when he decided not to ignore a possible warning sign and take his own health seriously.

In January of 2022, Uwe was working the night shift and noticed some sudden back pain. At first he thought he must’ve strained his back while working but still decided to get himself checked out. Due to his professional experience in the healthcare sector and his long family history of cardiovascular disease, Uwe was always particularly alert to certain symptoms, especially since he had high blood pressure and experienced the shock of an unexpected heart attack the year before. 

The next morning, Uwe went to his doctor’s office. Upon examination, the doctor discovered that his arteries were blocked and it turned out he needed to head straight to the hospital for an urgent operation. Fortunately, the bypass was successful and after a stay in rehab, Uwe returned home. He was given medication and instructions to monitor his blood pressure and record the readings.

Uwe began using a Withings smart blood pressure monitor to take his daily blood pressure measurement. He didn’t have to write down the readings manually, as the device automatically transferred the data to the Withings app. In the app, he could view the history of his measurements and also create a report with his data, which he could then pass on directly to his doctor.

Uwe even double checked his readings, using a standard blood pressure monitor at work. The result was reassuring: the values matched.

Uwe also appreciated his Withings blood pressure monitor for its long battery life and ease of use saying, “I even take the BPM with me on vacation. I would never have done that with my old device.”

His recovery plan also included a healthier diet and daily physical activity. But Uwe struggled with a lack of motivation and the temptation of gummy bears plagued him daily. However, when he started to get more involved with the Withings app, he says he discovered many tips and helpful articles on nutrition in the content library, which served as a starting point for him to rethink his habits and make changes. Describing his newfound awareness he says, “when you actively notice that you can actually influence your blood pressure through diet and exercise, it motivates you in a completely different way.”

Uwe then found the app’s badge program, which rewards certain milestones such as reaching step targets, regular weigh-ins etc. with virtual badges. He found that the badges encouraged him to become more active, so he created his own fitness routine that included training on the rowing machine and running on the treadmill at home. He also went on bike rides with his wife whenever the weather permitted. All these activities were recorded in the Withings app thanks to his ScanWatch, which in turn unlocked more badges and continued to boost his motivation him. This positive feedback loop had started to add up to big health gains for Uwe.

In combination with dietary adjustments, Uwe’s changes led to his doctor to halve the dose of his antihypertensive medication within a year. In general, Uwe felt much fitter, and this was also reflected in his measurements: slight weight loss, increased muscle mass and a stable heart rate. This proved to Uwe that he could actively manage his health. 

The message of this story is that habit building is possible, especially with help. But Uwe is happy to inspire others and make it crystal clear, saying,  “If you want to change something, you have do it yourself. If you stay in your comfort zone, you won’t get anywhere.”

Many thanks to Uwe for sharing his story with us. We wish him all the best for the future and hope that his story can inspire more people to take charge of their own health.