The Science of Prevention
The key to living a healthy, balanced life is practicing prevention. Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
If you are not already well versed in your family medical history, I can’t stress the importance of having those conversations enough. If someone in your immediate family has a chronic illness like heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or a history of cancer, this is something both you and your doctor should be aware of.
There are basically two types of inherited disease: single gene inheritance and multifactorial (or complex) inheritance. Examples of single gene inheritance are diseases like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. In those instances, there are no changes that you can make to your environment or your lifestyle to impact whether or not you will develop these diseases. Multifactorial inherited diseases are a different story. Examples of these are things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. If you inherited a risk factor for one of these types of diseases, taking preventive steps in your life could be the difference between developing the disease or not.
Having regular physicals with your health care provider and scheduling recommended preventive screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and even depression could save your life. Many of these diseases, when detected early, can be treated with medication or in some cases even with simple lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.
Other preventive measures that are important for a healthy lifestyle and in some cases could save your life include:
- Not smoking
- Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight
- Being physically active
- Consuming a healthy diet
- Not drinking excessively
If you can’t remember the last time you had that physical or “annual” mammogram, schedule it NOW! A little prevention goes a long way!
In a rapidly changing health care landscape, Karen Morse is a leading Wellness Scientist who develops personalized wellness plans for women and writes a weekly blog, The Wellness Scientist, imparting cutting-edge solutions for healthy living.