Is Disease Sneaking up on You?February 18th, 2009
The prevalence of disease is at an all time high, and unfortunately, it’s become synonymous with modern society’s perception of aging. Do you know that the two leading causes of death, heart disease and cancer, were barely even a concern just a century ago? What’s happened since then?
According to a 2005 National Cancer Institute statistic, 1 out of every 3 people will develop cancer, and according to a 2005 American Heart Association statistic, 1 out of every 3 people will develop cardiovascular disease. If you’re lucky enough to be part of the remaining third, you’re still not free from danger because chances are good that you’ll develop an autoimmune disease.
The Cost of Innovation
The diseases that are so prevalent today were virtually non existent in traditional native cultures and were quite rare just a century ago. Clearly, something has gone very wrong since then!
During the past century, several key innovations have significantly changed the way we live. Among them are the light bulb, the advancement of food processing techniques, and the introduction of synthetic chemicals. While these innovations have provided tremendous benefits, they can also be detrimental to our health by promoting us to overwork ourselves, eat poorly, and expose ourselves to toxins. The result is a tremendous burden to the body that often exceeds it’s capacity.
How it All Starts
By following the fast paced and convenience driven lifestyle that is so typical of modern society, most of us are overworked, overstressed, malnourished, dehydrated, and poorly rested. While many of us can get away with this for a while, it’s still promoting damage and malfunction that will eventually catch up with us.
For each day that we eat poorly, overwork ourselves, neglect to drink enough water, or fail to get enough rest, the body incurs some level of damage. Although it may only be a small amount, and although you might not even notice it, by accumulating day after day, the damage will eventually cause noticeable malfunction.
Days Become Weeks and Months
Succumbing to the convenience of unhealthy habits is very easy. After a while, you’ll probably grow numb to the moderate symptoms it’ll cause. Maybe you’ll have frequent diarrhea, excessive gas, periodic headaches, low energy, or increased susceptibility to illness. Whatever the symptoms are, you’ll probably ignore them just because they’re so common.
As time passes, the days you spend following unhealthy habits eventually turn into weeks and months. The damage of each day continues to accumulate and your symptoms gradually worsen. But you’re still no worse off than anyone around you, so everything is good, right?
Most people are fooling themselves and undermining their health by thinking these symptoms are normal. Their mistake lies in the assumption that the average person is in good health when, in reality, they’re far from it. By gauging yourself against the average person, all you’re doing is confirming that you’re just as unhealthy as they are.
Months Become Years and Decades
At some point, your symptoms of poor health will worsen to the point of wanting to do something about it. This is a pivotal point where most people make a grave mistake. Instead of attributing their symptoms to their unhealthy habits, most people look for a quick fix without any further thought. In a shortsighted effort to chase their symptoms, they turn to caffeine for energy and medication for pain relief. Meanwhile, the cause of the symptoms continues to go unaddressed and will likely worsen as time goes on.
After following an unhealthy lifestyle for many years, it becomes so ingrained that it’s very difficult to even imagine living life any other way. But as long as unhealthy habits aren’t continued, the underlying malfunction that results is going to get worse. As years turn into decades, the damage will likely become severe enough to cause full blown disease.
The Sneak Attack
Once disease is present, your life will likely become restricted by your health and you’ll be dependent on multiple prescription medications that add several new symptoms for each one that they help. Never realizing that your lifestyle caused all of this, you’ll probably attribute your diseased condition to bad luck. But the signs were there all along, you just chose to ignore them.
Because the human body can so resiliently absorb much of the impact from an unhealthy lifestyle for such a long time, it’s easy to ignore your symptoms until the day you finally push your body too far and disease seems to have literally sneaked up on you.
Consider a seedling that grows into a giant tree over the coarse of several decades. From year to year, the growth is nearly impossible to see, but the tree obviously grew a great deal during it’s lifetime. The same concept applies to the malfunction you’re growing every day with your unhealthy habits. Over the coarse of your life, it will likely grow into a major disease.
Our Warped Perception of Aging
Modern society’s standard of aging is grossly misguided. The conditions of disease and poor health that many people attribute to aging most often result from many years of living an unhealthy lifestyle. While most people are able to survive long past retirement age, surviving is all they’re doing. Decades of poor habits have left them with restricted physical and mental capacities that prevent them from fully enjoying their later years.
If you make the effort to take good care of yourself, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t expect to be full of energy and capable of physical activity well into old age.
Make a Change NOW!
There’s no such thing as a good excuse to continue neglecting your health. The longer you wait, the more work you’ll have ahead of you. Similar to saving for retirement, the sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. But regardless of how old or unhealthy you are, it’s never too late to make a change.
Get started by familiarizing yourself with the concept of optimal health and gradually adjusting your lifestyle in accordance with the 7 foundational factors of achieving it. Finally, don’t resign yourself to the belief that a healthy lifestyle takes all the fun out of life. Following the 80/20 rule will allow you to break some rules while still enjoying the benefits of healthy living. Besides, anyone who thinks that living life with disease is worth the frequent indulgences that cause it is definitely missing out on a much higher quality of life.
For more information on living a healthy lifestyle, sign up for my free course 7 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Happier and Healthier You.