As a family physician, I see patients of all ages and different medical backgrounds. Unfortunately, with obesity and chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes on the rise, I do not see as many healthy patients seeking preventive care.
With people living longer these days, I also care for many patients who I like to call “less young.” Certain medical problems can also arise with age. Nevertheless, I have met many patients over the age of 80 who are healthy and hardly look their age. When I encounter these individuals, I always ask what their secret is, and each person has told me essentially the same thing:
“I never smoke or drank.”
“I grew up eating healthy food.”
“I always stayed active. I still exercise everyday.”
“I always try to make the best of everything.”
A patient with dementia once even told me “The Golden Rule.”
Most responses I have gotten revolve around the same theme: a wholesome diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude. Not once has anyone said, “Well Doc, I just took all my pills like you told me to.”
The Real Secret to Health
When you dig deeper into these responses, you will find that there is a much more powerful force at play.
KARMA: Do good things for your body and mind, and in return you keep your body and mind healthy.
It seems so glaringly obvious, yet there are many people out there who don’t realize that their health issues are primarily caused by the choices they (knowingly or unknowingly) make. They then take pills for these self-created issues, and often in addition to not feeling better, end up experiencing more problems related to side effects from these pills.
Health is a Choice
The leading cause of death in the USA is heart disease, which continues to rise, due to an an increase in poor lifestyle choices. These lifestyle habits include smoking and alcohol use, as well as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, both which lead to obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. What’s interesting is that heart disease can be reversed by adopting healthier lifestyle habits, as demonstrated by this study. In fact, according to the CDC, the most common diseases are not only the most costly, but can be prevented just by eating a healthier diet, being more physically active, moderate alcohol use and not using tobacco.
What about a positive attitude? I truly believe that happiness creates health, and that emotional health is just as important as physical health. Positivity is highly underestimated in its role in health. This great article explains the power of the mind in healing.
Regardless of what health issue(s) you are dealing with, it’s important to be aware of how you may be contributing and why? Until the root cause of illness is identified, no amount of pills or doctors is going to make you healthy.
Old Wive’s Tales
I have taken the advice of my healthy and happy older patients, and guess what? I am healthy and happy, and you can be too. It’s simple, doesn’t come in a pill bottle, and it ultimately starts with you. Remember, do to yourself as you would want done to you.
Share your secrets for health or what you have done to become healthy again in the comments below.