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Health Risk Factors

The human body is the singularly most advanced piece of technology ever created. Each of us gets only one. Modern science is beginning to invent replacement parts, but as good as they may be; they will never replace the original equipment. We all know this, but it is a flaw in our design that makes us think, "it won't happen to me."

Imagine that you have been given a gift. The automobile of your dreams appears in your driveway. The keys are in the ignition and on the seat you find the following message: "Please enjoy this car, it will take you anywhere you want to go if you treat it properly. But, this is the last car you will get in this lifetime."

Would you ever consider putting a cup of sugar into the gas tank? Would you look at that beautiful gift and toss a cup of lard into the engine? Would you go sit and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day in it? No, you would not. And what would happen if you parked it in the garage and never took it out for a drive? It would rust and eventually fall apart.

Your body, like that dream car, has a fuel pump connected to a fuel line. It even has a gas cap to insure that things that shouldn't get into your system don't. But, we don’t think of the mouth that way; do we? We open it up and allow all sorts of garbage into our blood. We clog our fuel line, better known as veins and arteries with all sorts of sticky, gooey substances. They are delivered directly to our fuel pump and eventually, our fuel supply is interrupted. Our bodies have an incredible set of filters, called lungs, if they get clogged or diseased, we all know what happens. But, these things don’t have to happen. We can take better care of ourselves. We can read our own Owner's Manual.

Make Yourself a Priority

Unlike an automobile that has been abused, your body can begin repairing the damage you have inflicted on it. Clogged blood vessels can clear themselves, congested lungs can clean themselves, and a body can shed the extra pounds you have layered onto it. A true marvel of construction this body of ours. All that is needed is the determination to be the best you can be. You can begin exactly where you are. Improvements can begin today. A new you can begin to emerge today.

A New View

It is amazing how many diseases are created or affected by our life style choices. Clearly, our mechanical structures where designed to run on a very simple diet. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries, and protein when available made up the evolutionary gas station. When we learned to hunt effectively, we added more protein to our diet and our brains got larger, we got larger. But, we spent a great deal of energy on the primeval hunt. We might walk for days to find a good meal. And that meal would have to last until we made another kill. We developed a very efficient metabolic response. Eat all you could find to eat, store what you don't need, then consume the stored fat when there was no food to be eaten. So simple. Today's squirrels still practice that system. They will eat all the food in your bird feeder, regardless of hunger. Then in the winter when food is hard to find, they live on their fat stores. When is the last time you saw an obese squirrel? All wild animals live like that. Domestic dogs and cats get to eat year round, and they do get fat and unhealthy from their diet and a lack of exercise.

Evolution takes a long time to adapt to a new model. Someday, perhaps it will take into account the new environmental development of the Grocery Store, open year round, stocked with delicious out of season foods, canned, frozen, fresh, baked and chipped. But it won't happen in our lifetime. We must learn to control ourselves.

Because every person is different, working with your individual physician will set your goals and the food choices that will help you achieve them. We will however, speak in general terms.

The interesting thing about food is that you don’t need to have a thousand different diets. You might be diabetic and have a high cholesterol level, but the food that is right for the body will treat both these diseases. A good healthy diet is just that. And a healthy heart is simply a byproduct of a healthy lifestyle. It all begins with the fuel you give your body to operate on. This is even true for those people who do have congenital heart defects.

20 years ago the idea of going on a diet was just as popular as it is today, but it was much more difficult. But now we have new friends in the kitchen. One of the most useful is called food labeling. Every food you purchase in a package has a label. It tells you what a normal serving size is. This is very important. If a normal serving of Cottage Cheese is 1/2 a cup or 4 ounces, that serving size has 110 calories and 8 percent of your daily cholesterol and 18 percent of your daily sodium requirement. Just 4 ounces gives you 28 percent of the protein you need in a day. But, if you eat a full cup or 8 ounces, you will have doubled your calories to 220, your cholesterol to 16 percent and your sodium to 36 percent. And 80 of those 220 calories will have come from fat.

Not only is the label helpful with the serving size information, but it also allows you to weigh the values of products in the same category. The cottage cheese comes in many versions, 4 percent milk fat, low fat, and no fat. Calorie count may not be too different but calories from fat will change. The lower the fat content usually the higher the carbohydrate content. This same rule applies to most packaged foods. From hotdogs to ice cream, there is always a healthier choice in the case. You just need to take the time to locate it. Once you know which brands are best, stick with them. Keep a grocery list already filled in with the brands you want to purchase, and then simply check your list if you need to buy some of that. Never go to a grocery store without a list.

Other innovations in the last twenty years are low fat, low carbohydrate, and low sodium products. Taste is everything for the dieter, so the nearer the taste of healthier foods can come to their non-healthy alternative the happier the dieter will be. Sugar free Jello, fat free pudding, fat free whipped cream, egg alternatives, even bacon and sausage alternatives all make life easier and dieting more like normal eating. Add to those, the advent of complete meals prepared and nutritionally counted for you and life can be wonderful. There is no longer a need to feel deprived; you just need to become aware of what you are eating. That is simple enough. Your physician will work with you to get you on your right path, and your reward will be a healthier more attractive you.

We will now discuss the risk factors you have power over. It is up to you to exercise that power.<

These risk factors are:

  • Tobacco
  • High Blood Cholesterol and other Lipids
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Physical Inactivity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Mellitus