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Stacking the Deck

Making Your Own Luck

When it comes to ensuring your own good health, you can make your own luck by taking positive actions that stack the deck in your favor. Otherwise, depending upon "luck" by itself, without applying any extra effort, will only take you so far on your journey toward health.

Some people are lucky because they are blessed with a speedy metabolism. They are able to eat whatever they want without gaining weight. But just because they haven't been gaining weight eating a lot of fast food cheeseburgers, french fries and milkshakes, doesn't mean that a diet like this is conducive to long-term health.

It's important to realize that there is a down side to eating foods that are low in the nutrients your body needs. Eventually even a fast metabolism will begin to rebel against this type of diet, eventually slowing down and storing excess body fat as the person gets older. When this happens, it may take a lengthy amount of time to reverse the effects, even after switching to a more healthful diet.  Even without excessive weight gain, a poor diet over time usually predisposes a person to other health problems as the years go by.

Instead, you can stack the deck in your favor by making good lifestyle choices and by being vigilant about your health. Chiropractic check-ups help to make sure that your body functions at peak levels. If it isn't, then your chiropractor can suggest a treatment plan that can help you get back to your optimal level of fitness. Your doctor of chiropractic can also offer guidance as you improve your diet and choose exercise activities that will help keep you and your family healthy and well.

Life isn't always fair when it comes to health.  Some people can do all the right things and still struggle with serious health problems. At the same time, there are other people with terrible habits who end up living long lives, before dying peacefully in their sleep at a very advanced age.

Many people suffer from chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) which causes their hearts to have to work much harder than a person with normal blood pressure. Hypertension is associated with the increased incidence of strokes and heart attacks, and is a leading cause of death. 1

Chronic hypertension is often considered to be a "lifestyle disease". 2,3  Being overweight or obese (which includes approximately two-thirds of American adults) and/or diabetic will increase one's risk of chronic hypertension, as will smoking and not exercising regularly.  Actually, being overweight/obese, not exercising, and smoking are the top three causes of this serious malady.

It is clear that maintaining an appropriate weight, performing regular exercise, and either stopping smoking (or even better - never starting to begin with) are the three primary lifestyle actions related to decreasing one's risk of developing chronic hypertension. Even so, a small percentage of people who are slender, have never smoked, and have exercised regularly all their lives may still not be immune to developing high blood pressure. In a case such as this, chronic hypertension is referred to as "essential hypertension". The person has a very healthy lifestyle that does not include any risk factors for hypertension, and yet they still become hypertensive. That is the luck of the draw, otherwise known as a genetic predisposition to this disease.

In contrast, you may know someone who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since they were a teenager, drinks a large amount of alcohol almost daily, and still they rarely ever get sick. They somehow avoid developing lung cancer or liver problems, and have no real problems with heart disease or chronic hypertension.  Even though they're living a life that's contrary to all that is known about achieving good health, they somehow manage to thrive well into their 80s and 90s.  They love to remind their friends and relatives that they've never been sick a day in their life, while lighting up another cigarette. A person such as this is described by epidemiologists as an "outlier" - someone whose health parameters represent an outlying 2.5% or less of the standard values. Their particular genetic predisposition seems to give them an indestructible constitution.

Of course the exceptions only prove the rule, and it's important to realize that their existence does not suggest that it would be wise for the rest of us to ignore the rules for good health. Regular vigorous exercise and a healthful diet (that suits one's particular constitution) is very important for the other 97.5% of the population without an abnormally resilient constitution. Chiropractic care is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Chiropractic care helps people, young and old, achieve their best possible health. This natural form of health care helps take the "luck" out of the equation by minimizing its influence. We can stack the deck in our favor, and chiropractic helps us do that in the arena of health and well-being.

1Zhang WW, et al: Hypertension and TIA. Int J Stroke 4(3):206-214, 2009
2Schmid AA, et al: Current blood pressure self-management: a qualitative study. Rehabil Nurs 34(6):223-229, 2009
3Pascual JM, et al: Body weight variation and control of cardiovascular risk factors in essential hypertension. Blood Press 18(5):247-254

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