My first “real job” as a physician was working in a busy emergency room where patients were regularly transported when they were at or near “death”. I saw fast deaths, slow deaths, natural deaths, violent deaths, intentional deaths, and, most disturbingly, very unnecessary and unwanted “early” deaths. Most of these early deaths were caused by what I call “The Deadly 4”. These 4 common killers include heart disease, cancer, diabetes type 2, and brain disease (stroke and Alzheimer’s).
The disturbing fact is these diseases are mostly preventable (not 100%). However, if not prevented, they WILL shorten one’s life expectancy. If you don’t believe that, just try to buy life insurance if you have been diagnosed with one of “The Deadly 4”!
As a physician trained in public health and preventive medicine (with a master’s degree in public health), I know we can do better. My emergency room experiences stirred in me a life-long passion to prevent these early unnecessary deaths.
I am convinced, after years of observation, study and reflection, that the victims of unnecessary, early death are typically avoiding 3 simple, life-giving strategies. Avoiding these strategies are typical in America. Don’t be another American statistic, like so many others who have died “early”, quite unwillingly, because of not knowing that these simple practices could be so influential on health and life expectancy.
I’ve dedicated my career to preventing and postponing death. If you are reading this and you have a “life wish” instead of a “death wish”, read on, make some simple changes, and your chances of dying early will drop dramatically. Don’t join the majority of Americans who unintentionally choose the path of early, unnecessary death.
Avoid “Early Death” by following these 3 very simple strategies;
Strategy # 1: Embrace fitness time, for at least 9 minutes every day.
Yep, get off the couch. And if fatigue or depression is holding you back, talk to us. We can help! Movement of your body is mandatory for health.
You see, fitness activities lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, AND diabetes. So, unless you want to die early, pursue fitness!
And, you don’t have to run marathons or spend hours at the gym. In fact, that’s not what I’m talking about. Simply make sure you are involved in fitness activities for at least 9 minutes every day and you will, on average, live 6.2 years longer. And, if you miss a day, make it up later the same week. By the end of the week, you’ll have more than an hour of fitness time. Jog, walk briskly or somehow get a bit sweaty and short of breath for at least 9 minutes every day, accumulating at least an hour a week, and, on average, you’ll live 6.2 years longer!
Isn’t that simple? I know you can do it! Start today!!! Just work it in to your daily routine… The investment will pay off a huge dividend!
Strategy #2: Eat for health and not for the “high”.
Remember, sugar and other high calorie foods cause an emotional “high” that is seductive and addictive. Sugar is deadly. In fact, the intensive care units are filled with people who have overeaten on sugar! Sugar kills!
Sugar is mood elevating and relieves emotional pain, which is why we call it “comfort food”. We eat (or drink) sugar for pleasure and to improve fatigue, stress, boredom, depression, and loneliness. Daily stress is often all that is required to trigger consumption of this deadly “food”, sometimes referred to as “white death”.
Sugar increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It’s not even a point of debate. Eating foods like typical Americans, based on the pleasure and the “high”, rather than for health is a recipe for early death. Choose your foods based on health, not based on the emotional high they deliver.
Strategy #3: Watch the scale.
Don’t gain weight like others around you. Americans, on average, gain 30 or more lbs during adulthood, enough to die early.
After age 20, gaining a pound per year is typical. That’s an extra 30 lbs by age 50, and it is all too easy for it to happen. Due to genetic tendencies, medical conditions, and our food environment, some gain far more. After gaining unwanted weight, all the risks of overweight and obesity will occur.
All we have to do is “follow the crowd”, eat like they do, work like they do, and behave like they do. The rest is automatic and the weight will come…. along with the risks. Recent statistics confirm that more than one in three Americans are medically obese, another third are medically overweight. Is it any wonder that obesity now exceeds smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in America?
30 lbs of excess weight increases one’s risk of death in the next 10 years by 250%. Even 9 lbs of weight gain causes blood vessels to malfunction, increasing the risk of heart attack. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes deaths are common and early in those who are significantly overweight.
Perhaps genetics, seasons of stress in your past, or low quality foods have triggered your unwanted weight gain. Maybe you’ve already gained an unwanted 30, 60, or 100+ lbs that you would love to lose. Be encouraged! The good news is that you don’t have to lose all the extra weight gain to be healthy. Even losing 20 lbs can be enough to reverse diabetes tendencies or high blood pressure. Every pound lost improves joint health. The keys are: #1) Stop gaining! and #2) Start losing!
So watch the scale, control your weight. Or, if you’ve already been the victim of unwanted weight gain, get some help. If not at one of our Center for Nutrition offices, find a qualified and experienced physician trained in medical weight loss. Your health and life expectancy are worth it! We are just a phone call or email away! Patients on our most popular programs often lose 35-45 lbs in just 12 weeks, enough to reverse many years of unwanted weight gain!
Optimum Health is a common goal for each of us. Who would plan a retirement filled with disease and then death, especially early, unnecessary death? The keys to avoiding early death are simple. Embrace fitness time daily. Eat for health, and not for the high! And watch the scale, losing at least 20 lbs if you are significantly overweight.
And don’t forget, Optimum Health is ALWAYS worth the effort.
For Optimum Health,
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H.