Simply put, the answer is yes. Chronic diseases and related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis are among the most costly, familiar and preventable health problems. Believe it or not, chronic disease costs the health care system more than $1 billion per day. Yes, I said, “per day.” Most chronic diseases are related to poor diet and lack of nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol.
Americans have increased the consumption of sugar by more than 30% through the past three decades. Type 2 diabetes was rare before 1900, but now affects more than 14% of the American population, and another 38% of the population has pre-
Physicians are good at treating chronic disease symptoms, but not always so good at treating the causes of chronic disease. Most diabetics are treated with medications to control blood sugar levels. Eventually, patients require increased doses of drugs, but the problem of too much sugar in the body is not always addressed. If your cholesterol is high, you guessed it, we have a pill for that, too! Unfortunately, you cannot cure dietary diseases with medications; it’s just not going to happen. There are better ways to treat these chronic diseases. Rather than only targeting symptoms, we also start by removing the underlying cause or causes of a disease, which may or does constitute a cure. As mentioned in my last article, diet and exercise are the keys to that cure.
By the way, while you’re reading this, let’s start reversing the chronic disease process by putting that soft drink down, as the sugar in soft drinks amounts to 39 grams. Thirty-nine grams of sugar in a soda is equal to 10 teaspoons full of white sugar.
My three favorite keys to reversing chronic disease start with:
#1 and most important of them all, your diet. I recommend a whole-food, low protein/animal fat and plant-based diet primarily made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and some soy products in their natural, unprocessed forms.
#2 is moderate exercise, including walking and strength training. The weather is just getting better as summer approaches. The use of hiking trails, walking in your neighborhood, walks along or around local lakes, and getting out and walking about town are great ways to reduce body weight. Include some strength training exercises, which can be done at home with small dumbbells or resistance bands available at your local department store or sports equipment store.
#3 is stress management. Yoga, simple stretching, meditation, healthful living and deep breathing exercises all help to relieve stress. Stress has been a massive factor in the development of chronic diseases like hypertension and lupus. Twelve weeks of yoga and stress management has shown a reduced risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 7% and a reduced risk of a stroke by 10%. People living with lupus have shown a reduction in flare-ups with a less stressful lifestyle. Of course, this is not a replacement for the medications your primary care provider may have you on, but it can be an integral part of leading you toward a medication-free path.
What you put in your body is just as important as what you exclude. A healthy diet that is low in carbohydrates and animal fats, combined with the many thousands of protective factors in plant-based foods that have anti-cancer, anti-heart disease, anti-aging properties, combined with cutting sugar and carbs, may be all the medicine you need. That’s it! To undo most chronic diseases, you primarily need to eat real foods and get exercise. As healthcare providers, we can’t stress this enough. QCBN
By David Zelman MA PTR
If you need help getting your chronic disease management, weight loss goals, and general health under control, please do not hesitate to call Clarke Krugman AGNP-C and David Zelman MA PTR, practice manager at Vitality Care Center in Prescott. We are open Monday through Saturday and can be contacted at 928-515-0804.
David Zelman MA PTR, is the practice manager and co-owner of Vitality Care Center.