Do You Play Trick-or-Treat with Your Health?Proactive Health
By Joy Stephenson-Laws and the pH Labs Healthcare Team
It’s Halloween time again! And if you really want a good fright, you can do it for free and with far less preparation and effort than you probably put into your Halloween celebrations. All you need to do to be really scared is take a few minutes to look at how many of us take care of our health. The reality is that we may not be doing nearly enough to prevent disease or to better manage any chronic diseases we may already have. We can be doing so much more but don’t, and that is very scary!
Since our mission is to help you get and stay your healthiest, we invite you to look at the following “Scary Health Myths.” If you see yourself believing in any of them, then it’s time to stop tricking yourself and start treating yourself to better health.
- If I eat healthy foods, I will get all the nutrients my body needs. Congratulations! You’re doing a lot more to protect your health than most Americans are. The challenge, however, is not whether you’re eating the right foods but whether or not your body is actually getting and is able to use the nutrients it needs from these foods. Many things can get in the way of your body absorbing and being able to use the nutrients you get from food. These include getting older, medications we may be taking, genetic factors, chronic diseases, how the food you eat is prepared and the quality of food itself. The only way to really know if your body is properly absorbing and using the nutrients you are eating, is through a comprehensive nutritional analysis.
- I see my doctor once a year, and that is more than enough. It’s great that you get an annual check-up, but think about how much time you actually spend talking with your doctor during this visit and how in-depth the tests are that he or she conducts. Is this really enough to give you the information and tools you need to keep you at your healthiest? The truth is you probably spend more time taking care of and checking your car throughout the year than you do your body. Another area where preventative care is commonplace and routine is aviation. The risk of death from a single inflight malfunction is so astronomically high, airlines take true preventative steps to identify and correct potential problems before they happen or before warning signs are expected to show up. Your body is equally or more complex, and the risk of death or disability from virtually all untreated disease is just as high. We don’t take that risk when we fly. Why would you take it with your health? So spend the time to prepare for your annual physical. Always be ready to discuss the issues important to you with your doctor.
- I lead a healthy lifestyle and feel fine, so I don’t need to worry about my health. It’s great that you feel good. And you may also lead a healthy lifestyle, but this, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that you are completely healthy. Many serious medical conditions, including certain cancers and heart disease, may exist for a long time in your body without noticeable symptoms. Early detection of these diseases is your best defense. It’s better to know what your risks may be, so you can take proactive steps to protect your health. This is why it is important to visit your doctor regularly and ask questions.
- If I ever get sick, my doctor can take care of whatever is wrong. Maybe yes, and maybe no. Let’s look again at your car. What would happen if you only called the mechanic or the dealership when the car broke? For example, you didn’t change the oil until the engine froze, didn’t change the brake shoes until you almost crashed or didn’t change the transmission fluid until it spilled onto the highway. You would be facing astronomical repair costs. And that’s assuming what went wrong could even be fixed. Now think about your body. Scary, right?
- Much of what happens with my health is already in my genes, and I can’t change that. Yes, it’s true that your genes will somewhat determine whether you are at risk for issues, like heart attack, diabetes, dementia or schizophrenia. But, the key word here is risk. The reality is that your genes don’t have the final say in whether you get a specific disease or not. The most empowering aspect of genetic testing is the options it gives you to be proactive about the rest of your life. For example, if you are like me with a genetic predisposition for diabetes or hypertension, you can decrease your risk by maintaining healthy lifestyle habits and protect yourself from the odds. Learn more about genetic testing, and talk with your doctor to see if it makes sense for you. Your genes are not your healthy destiny!
- Healthcare is for doctors. I let my doctor do his or her job, and I don’t meddle. You are ultimately responsible for taking care of your health just as you are for many other decisions or activities in your life. While we have one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, in the end you need to partner with your healthcare providers to ensure you enjoy optimal health since they can’t do it alone. More and more people are also seeing the value and benefit of taking a more active role in protecting their health and are looking for ways to avoid sickness, in the first place, rather than treating or curing something once it happens. Remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It applies here.
What Can You Do Now?
It is quite simple and very doable. Education is the foundation and starting point. You first need to learn about your body and how to keep it healthy.
Your nutrition is an important part of this equation. For example, at a minimum you should know that your body overall needs six nutrients to stay healthy. They are generally water, protein, carbohydrates as well as certain fats, minerals and vitamins. You need to be aware of what your recommended daily allowances are for each nutrient and eat those foods that will provide those nutrients. If you are unable to locate foods that have adequate amounts of the necessary nutrients, then work with a competent medical professional to identify good quality supplements that are right for you.
You need to not only know what you need to eat but also obtain an evaluation of your nutritional status. It is important that you identify on a regular basis throughout your life whether you have optimal levels of these nutrients, and determine what dietary or lifestyle changes you may need to make to ensure you have the levels that are right for you. Being nutritionally sound prevents many diseases and puts your body in the best position to recover from disease.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.