Personal Health – What Are You Going To Do?
Peter J. Weiss, MD FACP
Over a year after our Congress passed “healthcare reform” we’re still arguing about it. Will it work, or will it make things worse?
It’s hard to know. The future of our healthcare system is still very uncertain. But, enough on politics, let’s talk about you.
Frankly, you probably aren’t ever going to have any control over the healthcare system, but you can control yourself. What’s been missing from this national health care debate is serious discussion about what individuals should be doing for themselves. Let’s be honest. A major factor driving the increasing need for and increasing expense of health care in the United States is our collective lifestyle.
As a people, we are increasingly overweight and sedentary. Too many of us still smoke, drink too much, or have other unsafe and harmful habits. The list of illnesses related to the American lifestyle is long diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and degenerative arthritis just to mention a few. I could give you all the official statistics on preventable illness here, but you already know this is true. America has taken a wrong turn on the road to health and wellness.
Yes our health care system has real problems, and they’re serious ones, but most people don’t need more healthcare. What most people need is more health. How about you? Do you want more care next year – more doctor visits, more medical tests, and more pills? Or do you want less of all that and more health more muscle, less fat, greater fitness?
You can have it! You can be healthy and well. Really. You are in control of your own behavior and, for most of us, our behavior is the single greatest determinant of our health status. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you overweight? Stressed out? Do you smoke? Exercise? Meditate? Why or why not? Perhaps it’s time that you relook at your daily habits. Are they helping you to be healthy or helping you to need more healthcare?
I don’t want you to feel guilty about your lifestyle, and I don’t know you; you may have a serious medical condition that’s outside of your control. Obviously we are all different, and our ability and desire to manage our own health varies. What I am trying to get you to do is to look at what you personally can do to be well. What small steps could you take in the direction of better health and wellness?
Of course, even small steps may not be easy. It usually isn’t easy to change habits. So what? You’ve probably done many things in your life that haven’t been easy. Have you served in the military, graduated from college, or earned a promotion at work? Was boot camp easy? Were finals easy? These accomplishments didn’t come without effort and improving your health won’t either. You’re a person of accomplishment. Don’t talk yourself out of health and wellbeing just because it might take work.
Of course, you don’t need to tackle it all at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we all can benefit from taking things one step at a time. So, I’m only going to ask you to do one thing now:
Begin thinking about what you can do to improve your health.
That’s it. Just start thinking about it. Devote some time to the subject. Don’t make it too complicated yet, and don’t let it slide. When you start thinking, ideas will come. Focus on what you can control. You can be healthier and you are in charge of yourself. Commence your journey on the road to better health and wellness by acknowledging this today.
Editor’s Note: Do not consider medical editorial reviews, news items and other general information found in any Families Online Magazine medical or natural health columns as a prescription, medical advice or an endorsement for any treatment or procedure. Always seek any medical advice from your doctor. Medical editorial reviews and other news items that you read about may or may not be appropriate for your particular health problem or concern. Always refer these matters to your physician for clarification and determination. Any information provided in may be controversial, totally unrelated to your own situation, even harmful if taken merely at face value without appropriate evaluation of your specific condition, and therefore must be considered simply to be an editorial review, a news review or a general medical information review and not as relating to your specific condition or as information for diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of your specific condition.
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