Imagine waking up in the morning feeling great: you bounce out of bed with the kind of energy that will take you from morning to evening, you have the confidence to finally get to all those things you have been putting off, you are gaining control of your health and control of your life! Isn’t this what everybody wants? Good health, full function, and absence of disease well into old age? Of course, we do!
Here is a scenario that might sound more familiar to you or someone you know. You go for your annual physical and blood tests. The results come back and your doctor tells you to start various prescription drugs because your results were not in the healthy range (i.e., cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, glucose, blood pressure, etc.) This happens more and more each day, and this prescription drug may put a “Band-Aid” on the problem, but what causes these unhealthy feelings in the first place?
This is not to say that some drugs do not ever successfully prevent disease. But the fact is that no matter how you look at it, the US (and to a lesser extent other countries) has a prescription drug problem. The US spends two times more on drugs and takes twice as many drugs as other countries, and yet the health of Americans is actually worse. That means we are paying money for drugs that are not working for us (and possibly causing additional health concerns or adverse side effects in the meantime).
We have to start focusing on prevention. Being reactive versus proactive is leading us in the wrong direction. Surprisingly, obesity and chronic diseases associated with aging — hypertension, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis are not inevitable outcomes of the aging process. Instead, these diseases are largely preventable, simply by making sound lifestyle choices.
Lucky for us, there are medically approved wellness programs available as alternatives to prescription drugs. Your first line of therapy should be to fix what got you ill in the first place — your diet and lifestyle! 96% of Primary care physicians (PCPs) believe that the US healthcare system should place more emphasis on nutrition in treating chronic disease. So why don’t they just follow through on that notion? Well, because there are barriers for PCPs, such as lack of financial incentives, time, support staff and training to help each individual patient in this manner.
Helping patients adopt a therapeutic lifestyle is the first and possibly the most important therapy doctors and other health care providers could use to treat many chronic health problems, as well as the associated obesity epidemic we are experiencing in the US. It all comes down to us choosing to be “proactive” about our health versus “reactive,” and accepting the all too eager prescriptions that are handed to us each day. Making lifestyle changes (proper diet, supplements, activity, stress management, minimal toxin exposure, adequate sunshine and community support, etc.) is a small price to pay compared to how much we tend to pay in just one year for prescription drugs. You do not have to go to medical school to know how to take care of yourself in those areas of your life!
Rest assured, there are professionals and medically proven programs out there to help you achieve your wellness goals. Remember, it is not just about preventing disease — it is also about striving to live your life to the fullest in all areas — more energy, less stress, improving your shape, better sleep, more strength, fewer aches and pains, and the list goes on! So, what will be your first line of therapy?
Kimberly Stoeger, MS, is the clinical nutritionist and owner of Nutritional Healing, LLC. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has her masters of science in human nutrition degree, and experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, food sensitivities, autoimmune conditions, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions, and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected].