Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's boring to talk about health but I'm going to do it anyway

I’m not a big health nut. I’m not a runner (I’ve tried) or a dieter (I try to eat somewhat healthy all the time rather than fad dieting). So basically what I’m telling you is that I’m no poster child on what I’m writing about today.

But I have learned something over this past year – you oftentimes don’t get “redos” when dealing with your health. If you don’t pay attention to your health, sometimes it’s just too late.

Dad had high blood pressure and his cholesterol sometimes gave him fits. I knew he was taking medication for high blood pressure but really didn’t know much about it. I did not know what he could do, what he couldn’t do, how it would affect him, etc. I certainly did not know it could kill him. High blood pressure is nicknamed the “silent killer” because that’s what it can do – silently kill you. You may not even know you have it until it’s too late. Now we are all wishing we would have researched the heck out of high blood pressure so we would have handled it differently. In fact, I remember a specific conversation in my office one day about his high blood pressure. He was laughing about what the doctor said to him, “Usually when I see people with blood pressure this high, they are not standing upright!” We laughed. I’m no longer laughing. Dad doesn’t have the chance to say, “Ok, you got my attention now. I’ll work on my health.”

More about high blood pressure.

Another health issue that is affecting my family is alcohol. As I type this, my Dad’s parents and siblings are rushing to Texas to my uncle’s bedside at the advice of his doctor. Alcohol has destroyed my uncle’s liver to the point where he will not survive very much longer without a liver transplant. And do you think those who have consumed a lot of alcohol in their lifetime are at the top of the organ transplant list? Not so much. The important thing to note is this: You don’t have to be an alcoholic to suffer liver damage. I’m not against the occasional drink (or even drinkS) now and then, but I’ve witnessed how destructive alcohol (and any drug for that matter) can be. For me, it’s not worth it. Just like my Dad, his brother Al cannot say, “Ok, Ok. I’ll be healthy from now on.”

More about cirrhosis of the liver.

So what’s ailing you? Overweight? Unhealthy eating? Lack of exercise? These things may seem minor, especially if you are young. Our main goal here on Earth is to stay here as long as we can. Please don’t wait until it’s too late.