Self Care Awakening, The Impetus
The Impetus: A New Mindset
Some 20 years ago, I came to an awakening regarding my own health and well-being. This journey has led to the information we discuss in the Self Care Awakening. It is about a few very simple concepts. It is about Being Healthy by Choice and not by Chance. The reality is, if we leave our health to chance, chances are that we are not going to be healthy. The major impetus for the Self Care Awakening is to bring this and other aspects of good health to light. To do so we first need to become aware of the problem or what are the reasons that so many of us are plagued with so many different chronic issues. This is a relatively new problem and maybe it is one that we have created ourselves.
In the early 1900’s the major cause of death was communicable diseases (infectious diseases). The top three were pneumonia and flu, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infections. In 2012 the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a retrospective look at causes of death from 1900 to 2010. Deaths from infectious diseases have decreased dramatically, while the proportion of people dying from cancer has more than tripled. If we look at current trends, cancer rates are going up, heart disease and stroke are increasing, Type2 diabetes is nearly epidemic and a host of other chronic issues that contribute to our mortality.
The first question to ask is why? What has changed in the last 100 years? Have we changed much biologically, or have we altered everything else around us? I think the latter is the more logical answer. The world we live in today is much different than that of the 1900’s.
I think many people believe that chronic disease or issues that impact our quality of life are normal. Let me unequivocally state, chronic disease is not a normal part of life. How many times have we heard someone say, “That’s just part of getting older”, as if the headaches, joint/back problems, weight gain, blood sugar problems, memory problems (and the list can go on and on) are just a “normal part” of life.
Here is a paraphrase of a recent advertisement from what use to be our corner drug store and is now called your local wellness center. The advertisement says, “there are 26 million Americans with diabetes, and 74 million are at risk, don’t worry, we can treat and manage your diabetes, so you can lead a normal productive life”. I almost fell out of my chair when I first heard this commercial. This is a brainwashing, inferring that diabetes (chronic disease) is a normal part of life. It is not! The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease control (CDC) estimate that as high as 80% of our world’s biggest killers can be prevented. I concur and am of the belief that just a few simple self care principles can lead to a vibrant heathy life.
In a span of a little over a 100 years chronic disease has become the number one killer worldwide accounting for nearly 70% of all deaths. Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show that 50% of Americans age 18 and above have at least one chronic disease, one out of four have two or more. By the time we are 65 years of age, 80% of us have one or multiple chronic diseases. Treatment of chronic conditions represents 86% of our nation’s health care dollar.
Americans currently fill 4.3 billion prescriptions per year. While representing 4.4% of the world’s population the U.S. consumes 75% of prescription medications. In 1993 the average prescription per American was seven, it nearly doubled to 12 ten years later.
A 2013 study from Mayo Clinic researchers revealed how many Americans are on prescription drugs and it's a lot of us. The study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, stated that seven out of 10 Americans take at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two. About one in four children took one or more prescription drugs in the past month, compared to nine in 10 adults 65 and older. In 2013, patients between 50 to 64 years had an average of 19.2 prescriptions per person. Prescription drug expenditures are growing faster than any other part of the health care dollar.
Let’s face it, we are taught our entire lives to be consumers of modern medicine, especially pharmaceutical medicine. When we were young and had a headache, our moms gave us baby aspirin. They didn’t ask when we last drank some water. This behavior continued as we grew. If we think that there’s a pill for everything that ails us (and many do), we have missed the whole point of prevention and self care. We are taught to treat rather than prevent, to react rather than be proactive about our health.
The Self Care Awakening series was designed to bring back common sense and some sanity to what I consider to be an insane notion that chronic disease is a normal part of life. It's not, but if we look at it statistically most our population have chronic health issues.
We think being healthy is difficult when it's pretty simple if we make some of the right choices. Our health, good or bad, is about our personal choices. Knowing this I think it’s safe to say that we would all prefer to be healthy. Our tag line, Be Healthy by Choice, not by Chance is a simple but very empowering statement.
Within the Self Care Awakening we look at four vital areas that lead to a healthier life.
- Environmental toxicity and our body burden “the pollution in people” and what we can do personally to limit our toxic exposures and reduce our body burden of toxic chemicals.
- Water Matters discusses the importance of hydration and what happens if we don’t drink enough water. This chapter also talks about different choices for healthy water that we consume and bathe in.
- Sleep Matters addresses the fact that many of us walk around every day sleep deficient. Sleep is considered by many of us to be an unproductive endeavor, when it is our most productive physiological activity.
- Weight Matters concerns itself with excess sugar consumption and what we can do to limit our intake by simple easy choices and achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
These four concepts are easy to understand but are vital for our health. Self Care is a practical and simple way of Being Heathy by Choice and not leaving our Health to Chance.
Be Healthy by Choice and not by Chance