2011-01-28 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Primary Prevention
By Dr. Nancy Gahles


DR. NANCY GAHLES DR. NANCY GAHLES Seventy-seven percent of all cancers are preventable. Eightyfive percent of chronic disease is preventable. Primary prevention means that you are able to prevent the occurrence of diseases through diet and lifestyle.

That’s correct. You can eliminate the fear factor of “catching” a disease by being proactive with the choices you make in what you eat and how you live your life.

The truth is...you have the power. You are in charge of your own life.

Diabetes, heart disease and hypertension all have causation in obesity. We become obese when we eat poorly, without conscious decision making about the foods we eat.

We become obese when we do not move our bodies in a way that burns more calories than we take in. We become obese when we are disconnected from our bodies.

We become sick in varied ways when we are disconnected from the language of our bodies. This, we can prevent by listening and observing. Discomfort precedes actual sickness. In the example of obesity, before one is actually 50- 100 pounds overweight, there are signs that you are going down that path. You know that you are consuming too much food. You know that you are eating the foods that cause you to be too full, have gastric disturbances, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, stomach pains.

The body is a marvelous instrument of adaptation. It will help you to adjust to indiscretions. In a way, the body is an enabler. Often, you will not be aware of a problem until you have a serious sign, one that brings you to the doctor or the emergency room. Then, one may say, “ how did this happen?” “How did my arteries become clogged to 95% requiring a stent?”

It behooves us to become educated in the way in which our bodies work. Ask yourself the question, “what makes me sick?” Through the miracle of hindsight, we can remember times that we became sick and causations. It is this understanding that we use to predict future health and pitfalls.

Primary prevention is not the discovery of disease in its early stages as is suggested by mammogram and colonoscopy.

Primary prevention is addressing the known causes of the disease to which you may be susceptible and creating a lifestyle that enhances your immunity and decreases your susceptibility.

We know that increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and maintaining a lean body weight decreases one or more of the risk factors for breast cancer.

We know that exercise and reduction of calories from sugar and processed foods with high glycemic index reduces your risk of developing diabetes.

We know that diet, exercise and proper sleep reduces your risk of heart diseases.

These are major diseases that are the top causes of death in our country.

We are abundantly clear on the fact and the belief that stress causes disease.

When I say belief I mean that we actually believe that stress causes disease. In fact, the word “stress” is now an adjective and a verb. It is ubiquitous in our language. People use it to describe their lifestyle and they use it to describe the causation of their disease or early discomfort.

In my office, patients will describe their pain and then attribute it to “stress.” This causation is offered in a casual manner, a throw away. As if it is a given that stress is in their lives and causes back pain, tension in the muscles, headaches, stomach pain. Why? Because it does! The body is a sensory instrument. It interprets physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences and processes it for your use. When the body cannot process this information, it brings it to your attention as a symptom. You are then supposed to listen, become aware of the sensation in your body and act upon it. Our bodies are the only means we have of experiencing our lives on this earth. We have eyes, ears, taste, touch, we also have emotions and thoughts and intuition as vehicles to express and interpret our experience.

In a situation where you feel uncomfortable, your body may display symptoms of dry mouth, tightness in the stomach, racing heart, weak legs. You are aware of the situation that you are in that causes this reaction. A healthy response is to leave that situation and not place yourself in it again. Suppose that you are in a relationship personally, or at a job where this reaction is provoked often. This is a stressor that can cause diseases.

We must become proactive to listen, observe and make choices that offer us the opportunity to live our best lives with freedom and happiness. We can make those choices when we take the time to look at the state of our lives. How do we feed ourselves on all levels of body, mind, emotion and spirit? Are we living up to our potential? Are we creating and sustaining healthy relationships? Are we working in a job that is fulfilling?

You CAN make changes. That is the gift of time. In this moment, you can analyze and make a plan to create the life that makes you happy and healthy. This can prevent disease. That is a lifestyle change.

The good news is that you are in control of your own destiny.

Ask for help if you are not certain how to begin. You can always ask me. E-mail me at askdrnancy@aol.com.

May the Blessings Be!

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History