“Experience Life,” a magazine published by Lifetime Fitness, is always full of informative articles on achieving optimal health and lifelong wellness. In the most recent addition (January/February 2015), an article by Pilar Gerasimo, focused on minimizing symptom suppression in ways that support living a healthy life with little or no medical intervention. There are several highlights from that feature piece that can help you to achieve your wellness goals.
In 2013, the Mayo Clinic published a report that said almost “70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, more than half take two, and 20% take five or more.” The most common prescription drugs taken are used to treat depression, pain, acid reflux, infections, plus high cholesterol and blood pressure. Interestingly, the reason these medications are prescribed to treat a condition that is dependent many times on a person’s lifestyle, and in no way addresses the root cause of their problem.
Medications mask the real problem, giving only temporary relief. Like a revolving door, as symptoms present themselves medication is taken, then life continues on until, once again, the symptom presents itself.
The author, Pilar, goes on to say “We have been taught to think of a great many maladies (from dry eyes to social anxiety) as ‘diseases.'” She acknowledges that this school of thinking brought to us by the pharmaceutical industry that makes a living helping us get “better.”
The article equated how we should handle our health problems with the way we handle burning something in the oven. When the smoke alarm in our home goes off, we do everything we can to remedy the situation and stop the noise. We would consider what went wrong in causing our dinner to burn, noting how to prevent it from happening the next time. In the ideal world, we’d like to think that this is how we would handle our health problems that arise, but all too often that is not the case. We are too quick to slap on a bandaid and carry on as we had been, knowing deep down that the problem still exists and future alarms of a burnt dinner will inevitably happen.
The good news is that there are ways you can change the outcome for the better:
- Understand how resourceful your body really is in how it manifests symptoms, typically beginning with minor symptoms like fatigue or discomfort. Listening to your body for the onset of symptoms can alleviate the impact of more serious ones later and allow the body to heal itself.
- Recognize the connection between the different parts of your body. In other words, a symptom in one place can indicate a problem in another.
- Be your own advocate and always ask “why.” Ask until you truly understand what is happening to you and what you can do about it.
- Know the ins and outs of the medications you are currently taking and don’t assume anything. Learn all the side-effects, including how they might affect your goal lifestyle of health and wellness.
Be your own advocate and start listening to you!