LIFESTYLE is the way of living that individuals, families and societies manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis.
2012 finds an aging “baby boomer” population striving to stay youthful and vigorous while wondering if they have the finances to maintain the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. The “sandwich generation” is caught between caring for aging parents and raising young children.
Currently two-thirds of American children are deficient in more than two essential vitamins or minerals. Rising healthcare costs and job security are major concerns and people are often foregoing retirement to make ends meet.
Only 12% of American adults are exercising vigorously each week and two-thirds of Americans are believed to have sleep disorders.
Convenience and speed seem to take precedence over caring properly for our selves. And stress due to the pace of modern living has become the leading cause of disease.
“Though the human body is a finely tuned organism with tremendous innate ability and corrective capability, it does have limits. If deficiencies are not corrected and abuses are not stopped, sooner or later the body will begin to break down. That breaking-down process, known as degenerative disease, manifests in many different forms.”
Ron Garner, Bed, MSc, ND
LIFESTYLE DISEASES are diseases that appear to become ever more widespread as countries become more industrialized. They are potentially preventable and can be influenced with changes in diet, lifestyle and one’s environment. Leading Life Style Diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity.
Heart Disease and Strokes cause nearly half of all deaths in America and severely reduce the quality of life for many people. While there are some risk factors for cardiovascular disease that we can’t change, such as age and gender, there are some that we can do something about. According to the Framingham Heart Study the six most important modifiable risk factors are high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity.
Cancer is the number two “killer” in this country. The American Cancer Society defines cancer as “a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. In a healthy body the immune system quickly identifies and destroys cancer cells when they first occur, but the typical American lifestyle and diet predispose the body to develop cancer by introducing carcinogens to the body and handicapping the immune system.”
Diabetes is a serious condition that occurs when the body becomes unable to use glucose (sugar), which then builds up to dangerous levels in the blood. This damages the body in a number of ways and ones life expectancy is shortened by 5 to 10 years or more.
Osteoporosis is a gradual condition in which bones become more brittle because of mineral loss and structural deterioration. It affects one in every three women over fifty years of age worldwide. Most are not aware of it until they suffer a fracture – most commonly of the hip, wrist or backbones. These fractures can significantly affect the quality of life, and may cause premature death from complications. Men and children have joined the ranks of low bone density.
Obesity is one of America’s greatest health problems. Every extra pound takes about one month from your life span. It lays the foundation for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes as well as numerous other problems: back pain, osteoarthritis, fatigue and low self-esteem. The only weight loss program that will have a permanent effect is one that involves permanent lifestyle changes.
Prescription Drugs are responsible for more deaths than traffic accidents. Someone is killed by a prescription drug every 14minutes. Medication-induced deaths are on the upswing across the US.
A growing cause of death in the US is from Iatrogentic Damage, an adverse effect resulting from medical treatment. This means that doctors and hospitals are responsible for more deaths each year than cerebrovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, accidents, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia.
“The $3 trillion we spend on health care in this country, which represents about one-fifth of the U.S. economy, mostly has very little to do with health. At a recent presentation about the new health care reform legislation, Dr. Caroline Langer from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, stated that approximately 75% of the $3 trillion being spent is caused by our lifestyles. If we continue to focus on treatment of the symptoms instead of healthier lifestyles the expenses for health care will continue to grow.
Health is defined as, ‘being sound in body, mind or spirit,’ but what we call ‘health care’ has a very different focus, and would more appropriately be called the ‘sickness industry.’
Sickness Industry: Products and services are provided reactively to people after they contract an illness, ranging from a common cold to cancerous tumors. These products and services seek to either treat the symptoms of a disease or eliminate the disease.
Wellness Industry: Products and services are provided proactively to healthy people—that is, those without an existing disease—to make them feel even healthier and look better, to slow the effects of aging, or to prevent diseases from developing in the first place.”
Choosing healthy habits over unhealthy habits can feel challenging, but it is easier than facing early aging of the mind and body. Making small changes on a daily basis can have long-lasting ramifications for health.
“Health is a gift. If we line ourselves up with the laws of nature, we receive the benefits – health. It is up to each of us to seek out knowledge on how to provide for the body a LIFESTYLE that is conducive to health and the body will do the rest.” Joel Robbins, DC, ND, MD