Change is inevitable, but you can mitigate it
Change is often difficult, but it’s a constant in life. The challenge we face daily with our health is that change often comes in incremental doses that are difficult to detect on a day-to-day basis. If left unchecked, these small daily changes can often culminate into significant health problems.
By the time we become aware of the symptoms of change there has usually been enough cumulative deterioration of the organ, tissue or systemic function that substantial intervention is often necessary. Examples are numerous: plaquing and occlusion of arteries that result in a heart attacks or strokes, bulging discs that herniated, osteopenic bones that result in fractures, obesity that cumulates into diabetes or a gradual decline in mental health that results in major depression.
Disease is not strictly a function of age and genetics. In fact, healthy behaviors (or lack thereof) play the most critical role in the cumulative nature of disease. To stay ahead of the curve, deal with change proactively. Here are a few suggestions:
Awareness, the first step
We are so fortunate in America because so much medical technology and an abundance of healthcare providers are available to help us understand the state of our health. The challenge is that our healthcare system has evolved in a reactive model, meaning insurance companies are generally obligated to pay for services only if you have symptoms. That said, most insurance plans will pay for annual checkups and associated lab work, but more advance diagnostics are reserved to assist in the intervention of disease. As a result, we have become accustomed to this model of reactive care.
Further, it’s my opinion that insurance gives us a false sense of security. My advice: Don’t wait till you have symptoms. Increase your frequency of checkups and follow the recommended age-specific preventative tests. If you do not have insurance, free resources are available. Places such as the Conejo Free Clinic are staffed with highly skilled doctors who are ready and willing to help.
Shift to a healthier lifestyle
Living in California we are fortunate because we are surrounded by a culture that supports a healthy lifestyle. That said, we are still influenced by the greater American culture of over consumption. One of my favorite quotes comes from my wife, a personal trainer: “Nothing tastes as good as attractive feels.” What she means is that staying lean and fit feels better in the long run than does the temporary satisfaction with overindulgence.
Also, our daily commitments to our careers and families often take our focus off of ourselves. Remember, there is no one more important in your life than you. The research is conclusive; a healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise, low consumption of fatty meats, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and control of stress. If you do not feel you have a healthy lifestyle, start with one change and stick to it for 30 days. Make it simple. For example, drink one extra glass of water per day or walk around the block twice per week. Whatever change you are interested in making, start small and stay consistent.
Find your ‘healthy passion’
I’ve always maintained that it’s easier to make healthy choices if you have a recreational activity that requires some level of cardiovascular effort and one you get excited about: a “healthy passion.”
Paddle-surfing is my “healthy passion.” It not only gives me the physical conditioning that I need, but it also gives me the outlet to allow me to deal with the daily stress associated with life. More importantly, I make better choices in my daily habits because I want to have the vitality to be able to participate in my “healthy passion.”
Admittedly, staying healthy and dealing with change proactively takes work; however, staying proactive with your health is easier than avoiding the incremental changes until they result in disease. Disease is not merely an inevitable result of age and genetics. Increase your awareness of your current state of health, shift toward a healthier lifestyle and find your “healthy passion” to live life to your potential.
— Sevak Khodabakhshian is a doctor of chiropractic with Thousand Oaks-based Omega Rehab & Sport, where a team of physical therapists, chiropractors and athletic trainers applies an active-care approach to healthcare. He can be reached for comments, questions or suggestions by e-mail, at Sevakk@omega-rehab.com.
7:00am - 6:00pm
7:30am - 6:00pm
7:00am - 6:00pm
7:30am - 6:00pm
7:00am - 6:00pm
9:00am - 12:00pm